words from a broken vessel

Are You Listening?

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A close friend of mine told me about a certain person who had decided to walk away from the call of Christ to fulfill his carnal desires. This piece of news broke my heart and made me groan deeply in my soul. That person will soon realize that while his life may seem exciting at first, the end result will be pain, hurt and rejection. If anyone should know this, it is I. I went down that path before and thus, can relate to that person’s choice. But I also know the heart; it is indeed deceitfully wicked. It wants what it wants, when it wants it. I am still amazed sometimes how my own heart gravitates to sin and desires that will ultimately destroy me if I decide to follow its siren call.

I prayed that this person would soon come to truly give his all to Jesus and realize that the only satisfaction to the thirst in his soul is the Lord Himself.

What do I mean when I say that Jesus will satisfy the thirst of his soul? How does Jesus satisfy? I mean, you cannot touch Him, you cannot see Him nor even interact with Him as I can interact with the person next to my office. We know that Jesus is not dead; He resurrected from the grave and then ascended into heaven in plain view before numerous witnesses. So how does one have a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth? After all, He Himself, in His prayer to the Father said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

We have to use that word that drives atheists crazy: FAITH! Not a blind, “just believe because I say so” type of faith; but a faith that trusts in Someone who is real and whose character is trustworthy. We know Jesus was a real, historical figure who lived about 2000 years ago; we know that the gospel records are historically reliable accounts from eyewitnesses; we know that Jesus did indeed resurrect from the dead and then ascended to heaven many days later; we also know that His promises are true and He will therefore come again (should these be separate sentences instead of semi-colons?). Therefore, we can have faith that what He says is true!

If Jesus said that He would be with us until the end of the age, then He is with us through the Holy Spirit right now. If Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29), then He meant what He said. So therefore, we need to take the opportunity to make ourselves open and available to the Lord and to trust Him to fulfill what He has promised.

So the next question is: how? How can we have this relationship with Jesus? What does it look like? Ah, now that is the rub, isn’t it? Imagine us saying this to unbelievers: well, Christianity is not religion; it is a relationship with Jesus. They look at us as if we had lost our minds! How can you have a relationship with someone you cannot see or hear? But the glorious truth is that we can! Not necessarily the way we want or think, but He does communicate. The question really is: are we listening?

Think about this: when God spoke to Israel at Mount Sinai what happened? The people freaked out! It was too much for them to handle. Not surprising when you consider it. The Bible talks about his voice melting rocks and making mountains skip like sheep! God revealed Himself to Elijah in a quiet still voice after earthquakes, fire and whirlwinds. So are you paying attention?

After a particular hard day, I lay in my bed staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep. My heart was troubled and fearful of what lay ahead of me for the future. I rose out of bed and quietly walked over to the living room where I prayed to God in the darkness. I was desperate! My prayer was not profound but simple: Jesus, I need You to talk to me; I need to hear from You and I need Your direction in my life. After about an hour (around midnight) I went back to sleep.

The next morning, I dropped off my wife to the ferry, which is close by our apartment. When I drove back home, I was listening to a Christian program where the speaker was talking about the next day’s lesson, which was to be on Psalm 46. I didn’t remember this Psalm so when I arrived home I decided to read it.

The first few verses almost made me cry, for I sensed in my heart it was the Lord answering my plea from last night. Psalm 46: 1-4 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil.” God was communicating with me, in a way I did not expect. Later on, God further communicated with me by confirming what I had read through a friend of mine who called shortly afterwards to see how I was doing and helped me to see where God was leading me.

Jesus was faithful. He spoke. I listened.