Wednesday, October 18, 2006

instant messaging

Lately I've been spending time around people who have been very dramatically saved from drug addiction and alcoholism. I seem to always find myself on the other side of prison bars, the glass or the needle, trying to understand people who one day were one way, and the next day completely changed. I know there are also many variations of this scenario and many people who struggle aren't instantly changed, but I'm very curious about those who are, especially those who use the experience to bring other people to God immediately. Seems to me that nothing brings home the validity of Scripture that we are saved by faith, and not by things we do...and also, that anyone who is in Christ is a new creature more than such people. Any one who meets these folks would see this truth walking and talking and be amazed. It is especially striking to me coming from a church setting where while people believe and do right quietly, rarely did I see their lives bring others to Christ. This also causes me to question.

Of course, I question my own life and ask myself what I am doing among such people. Is not any life changed by God at that moment new? What proof positive do I have that I am such a one? I have no drama to offer, no quick and powerful costume change to pull off convincingly. It has taken years of slow shaping for my life to change into what the Lord would have me be, one scenario of struggle after another. Yet I find myself energized and helped by these who have changed so greatly in such a short time. My faith is strengthened and the ones they attract I may strengthen in turn. But I find myself thinking, will what I have to say be helpful? That it took 32 years for me to be here with you who came in a day. They do accept me, but I cannot readily identify with the people they bring to God.

So then I question the usefulness of my not being saved by grace a miracle every time no matter how it happens? I know this is true. If I lose sight of that fact I lose everything my faith is based on. I know all are not called to be certain things, and trying to do too much too fast is not good. I am told I have experience to offer. That seems rather dull in comparison. I know God is faithful because after all those 32 years I'm still here, still serving, but I fear sharing my life because it was a hard climb. We all pray for revival and new life, but when it comes, are we confident enough in our own faith and God's working in our lives to help nurture it? I find myself overawed by what is happening and not entirely confident of my role in all of this. But it is not what I think of myself and my experience that matters. It is what is true-God has worked in my life and continues to do so-that is true. We are changed in an instant when we call upon God in Christ. Like typing a message and sending, once the message is sent, it is sent. A reply may be long in coming, but the message is instantly received.


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