Monday, August 11, 2014

Grace Part Two

Grief is a crippling emotion.
This world is full of sadness--deaths, tragedy, and thousands of other signs of the times. As I type this, my heart is overflowing so much that I have no choice--I must write.
According to the world, powering through despair means you are strong. But that's not true. You and I are not strong. We are weak; our hearts are malleable; and our emotions are traitorous.
The strong One is the Lord. Our strength radiates from Him.
Often I go to bed at night and pray until I fall asleep. This isn't because I'm some super-Christian. No, this is because I know how unworthy I am to be saved, to have a place in Heaven, to escape Hell. I lie awake and pray for the ones who don't know the Lord. The ones who are strangers to His peace, who haven't trusted in His cleansing blood to wash away their sins. I fear for them. I fear the deception the world feeds people. The world says "RIP" means a person truly will rest in peace once they leave this earth.
But if that person doesn't know Jesus, he (or she) won't rest in peace.
I was eighteen years old when Something gripped my heart. I'd grown up in church, remembered praying in my childhood bathroom for the Lord to come into my heart. I'd gone to church camp and cried tears at a wooden altar. I'd prayed.
But there was something wrong. I realized that during a week-long revival at my church. During that week, I struggled to sleep at night. Searched my mom's Bible for the note that said when I'd trust Jesus as a little girl. I wanted proof.
 That Friday night, the preacher preached about a train coming. He told the story of two boys who ran away from a place situated near railroad tracks. They walked along the tracks in the moonlight, but soon they grew tired. They agreed to rest their heads on the tracks. Surely they would hear a train approaching. They would have time to move to safety.
They didn't. A train came, and they didn't wake.
They'd grown accustomed to the train's whistle and rumble while they lived near the tracks.
 After the preacher preached, a man stood up to give His testimony. He told us how he'd believed he was saved as a young boy, but the Lord showed Him that revival week that He wasn't.
After that, while people sang a hymn, I abandoned my seat to find my mom. My heart was wild in my chest. Something was wrong. Very wrong. Was I on my way to Hell? Why was I so scared?
I blurted the truth to Mama out in the church hallway. "I don't know if I'm saved or not."
She took me to the back end of the hallway, a dark space for us to pray. She prayed out loud, and I talked to God in my heart. I don't remember what I said. What I do remember is my fear and the realization that I needed to turn to the Lord. I was a sinner--me. I needed forgiveness. I would spend eternity in tormenting flame if I didn't go to Jesus.
I figure the Lord saved me before Mom took me down the hallway, before we knelt on the carpet to pray. He was watching when I stepped out of my seat to find Mama, and He rejoiced.
I'm still not worthy of Him.
But His grace is never-ending. 
 I want the entire world to know Him. I want my friends and family to have a personal relationship with Him. To experience the Hope He offers. The love He demonstrated on the Cross.
This world is full of grief.
Still, the Lord Jesus Christ is the safe place. The refuge. The shelter.
He suffered--literally suffered--for me and you. Because He wants to save you. Because He wants to cocoon you in His grace and deliver you from this present evil world. Because He wants to give you a home in heaven.
Why would you turn Him away?
He's all that matters in this world, and He's concerned about you.
Do you know Him? Or do you simply know of Him?
He's waiting...
Will you go to Him?

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