I’m so fickle. I go back and forth between two extremes: loving God and what He’s doing in the world, and being so focused on failing that all I want to do is quit.
Here’s what motivates me, and hopefully it will be helpful for you too. I picture about 5 students I know by name, and more importantly, I know by their stories. I’ve been one of the few people they unloaded their story on when they said, “This is what I’m really going through.” I didn’t run away afraid of what they said. I did all I knew to do, and I tried to help them experience the love of Christ through me.
I picture where they were and next I try to picture where they will be. Where we will all be: at the foot of the throne worshipping Jesus (Revelation 7). There’s going to be a party in heaven and the celebration will be that Jesus took everything that was dead and broken, and through His pain, we will be made whole. Every bad event that happened to us will be redeemed. All those stories of pain and heartache will be redeemed and used for good. How? I truly do not know but I’ve now seen it happen often enough I don’t question God’s power to do it.
No one has described this better than Brennan Manning:
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.
-Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
1 Corinthians 3 where Paul talks about some planting, some watering, but God making the seed grow spoke to me so much this week. I’m planting seeds someone else will water. But God will use all of that effort in the lives of lost and broken kids. And one day, we will all stand before the throne and shout together, “Worthy is the Lamb”. One day I will get to see Revelation 7:9 and I will be a part of that multitude, along with so many of the people I care about and I can’t wait.
This blog post was adapted from my journal from April 25, 2015, written during a season I wanted to quit and walk away from all of it for good. Looking back, this was on the precipice of the greatest season of ministry I have ever been involved in. Thank you, God, you didn’t allow me to quit. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for me.