I was in Kathmandu in the tourist area, Thamel, when a man approached me with the intention of selling me drugs. At that moment, I heard God’s voice, asking me to tell him. So I interrupted him and told him what God wanted him to hear. ‘God loves you,’ I said softly. At that moment, he immediately broke down, crumbling to his knees, tears flowing out of his eyes. We went to an alley to avoid the gaze and judgement of the crowd.
He told me his story, how he use to be a hiking guide and had a successful career but broke his leg and lost everything, fell into a life of drugs and crime. He had two children and a wife but hadn’t been home in over a month, sleeping on the streets, too ashamed to go home as he had no work, and could not provide food for them. We prayed together. We bought some groceries and went home to his family.
I thank God for that beautiful encounter, for trusting me to share His love and mercy with that man and his family.
I use to think that God was mean, and judging and closed minded. I wanted nothing to do with Him because He had created such an unjust world, where so many are suffering.
When I started to believe, I was angry, I was very angry at God. In SL, I met people, people that were living joyful, peaceful lives, full of grace. I was so mad at Him asking Him why did He make me suffer so much? I wondered what if I had succeeded at killing myself, would You have sent me to hell? So I would have lived a life of pain, a life of what seemed like hell on earth and then been punished and sent to eternal hell as well?
How was that fair, how was that just? Because honestly, I didn’t know, I didn’t know how to live differently than the way I was living.
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
I didn’t know that God existed.
I heard about Him, but I certainly didn’t feel His presence in my life. The God they told me about was going to punish me, punish me for things that didn’t even seem bad, for things that I didn’t feel like I had any other choice but to do.
Why would I want to know this God?
No one told me.
I didn’t know that God was loving.
And I certainly didn’t know that God loved me.
I didn’t know that He wanted me to know joy and peace.
I didn’t know that He wanted to protect me.
I didn’t know that He loved every single one of us so much, that He sacrificed his only Son.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
And we don’t even know.
In an earlier post I quoted Brennan Manning. Brennan Manning suffered from alcoholism for a majority of his life.
He says that on judgement day, Lord Jesus will ask us one question:
“Did you believe that I loved you?”
Christianity is not a set of judgements, rules and moral codes, it’s a love affair.
“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last ‘trick’, whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.
‘But how?’ we ask.
Then the voice says, ‘They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’
There they are. There *we* are – the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.
My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”
Get through the first minute, and listen until the end.