Have you ever met people who put you at ease so much it catches you off guard? After two months of maybes and decisive moves to follow God I didn’t realize how tired every part of my being was. Then we met this family. They dressed differently than us but we share a love of the Jesus. Remember that love that God has for us that chases us down? Remember how Christians show their alliance with God?
Peter’s faith wavered as he walked on the water towards Christ and though our faith wasn’t faltering in this moment, walking in faith is uncomfortable. Tenderly God meets us in moments in need, but more often, if we look for it, He places people in our lives that show His love.
Spend Eternity in Heaven
Overly concerned about details that don’t determine which side of heaven a soul will spend eternity Jesus lovers argue and draw divisive lines. We complain about worship music and style, teaching or preaching tones, when Jesus will return, politics and policies, physical appearance…and we withhold the very element that brought us to faith: The blood of Jesus dripped from a cross because He wanted to bridge the gap between us and heaven; to make us holy (not “holy enough” because you’re either holy or not) so that we could experience a relationship with God.
Too often we find ourselves hung-up on personal conviction rather than Divine direction. Recently my husband and I discussed the church and believers. Influenced by a desire to understand the biblical correlation between the church’s struggles Paul addresses throughout Acts and the continued contention among modern Jesus lovers. Today the redeemed are sorting through the dichotomy between compassion and protection. As we discussed the topic I wondered, could it be that we’re both right?
Clearly I’m not speaking about immorality or things that God clearly teaches against, but that which God leaves permission to believers. Led by the Holy Spirit we find believers with differing viewpoints covering the globe. Geographically we cannot expect to understand the nuances and specific cultural dynamics and subtleties everywhere, but God is so good to put us in places He can use us.
If we’re equally being led by the Spirit then we’re equally being prepared for the specific way God desires to use us in sharing His love and hope of salvation with others. Unfortunately, the church is busy arguing and bickering positions, policies and practices instead of following Jesus’ command to spread the hope of salvation. The lost are everywhere, not just the side that opposes one’s beliefs, tragically, we don’t behave with this as a focal point.
Jesus’ Love Bridges the Gap Between Denominations
Jesus’ love bridges the gap between denominations. I’ve experienced that over years of participating in an interdenominational bible study. That hot summer afternoon Jesus love poured through this family. The body of Christ loving as Christ loves is powerful.
The gentleness and kindness our family immediately felt from this Jesus-loving family crossed the lines of denominations and held true to the bridge the gospel offers. Nothing is more undeniable and powerful than being around people who love like Jesus. It is so rare these days when encountered it seems surreal.
Tasting Another Life
That night, our first night on the ranch was a taste of another life. We piled on Sam’s four-wheeler and headed to the horse pasture beside the “garage with a studio”. Sam is about the age my dad would be and carries himself with the same rare strength of gentleness. Instantly our son looked to him with respect and followed his directions on how to open the pasture gate. Like my dad, frustration didn’t spark when struggle occurred, rather patient direction and encouragement coaxed him to the finish line.
The colors warmed the tips of the pasture grass as the sun began to set and laughter, something missing over the stress of packing, moving and the scare of ill family, burst out like fireworks. Sometimes the unexpected isn’t scary, stressful or demanding more than a willingness to relax. Our suburban family embraced the fun of the moment and I couldn’t help but notice fingerprints of God’s love and care everywhere. The sun drifted and dipped behind the mountains but the light of the Son shone through as we met the other families on the ranch.