Over the past few days, I’ve had a chance, via facebook, to speak to several young men who are currently serving our country overseas. A scripture that I always like to leave them with is Joshua 1:9;
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
When our oldest son, Derek, was stationed in Iraq, he was literally walking where Joshua walked. Joshua was always his favorite person in the bible…is it any wonder he entered the military? The above verse has been his favorite for years.I remember when he called us, a few months after his deployment. It was his birthday and he was really down. I asked him if he had read Joshua lately. No, Derek admitted, he hadn’t had his Bible out since he deployed. I encouraged him to do so and reminded him that he was being lifted in prayer daily.
A few days later he called again. This time you could hear excitement in his voice. He said that after he had hung up the phone on the previous call, he got his Bible out and was reading in Joshua. A couple of guys came up and were giving him a hard time about reading a Bible. Derek calmly looked at them and began to describe some of the battle scenes that he was reading about. The men were amazed. One said, “I didn’t know there was stuff like that in there.” Derek looked at him and said, “If you bring me your Bible, I will show you where it is.” The man replied, “I don’t have a Bible.”
Derek of course shared his with the men and asked me if I could send some Bibles to him for those who didn’t have one. It was déjà vu because a similar thing had happened while he was in basic training. He ended up leading a Bible study, after he and a couple of guys would sit up at night and discuss what they had read, outloud, where others could hear.Isn’t it amazing…the power of God’s word? Derek didn’t approach anyone, either time. They were drawn to him. Yes, at first, it was to ridicule and mock; but that simple question/challenge…”bring me your Bible”…was all it took to get the ball rolling.
Last night, after seeing me read my Bible, Char began to talk about her faith and the struggles that she has had with the church and Christians in general. It’s a familiar story…people, who in the name of God, have condemned her, ridiculed her and made her feel unwelcomed. Unloved. Unworthy.
So easily the pendulum swings, from one end of the spectrum to the other.
How are you presenting God to others? Do you wear a cross and yet, are critical of others? Do you have an icthus on your car but cut people off in traffic or curse others while driving. Do you welcome others to your church that appear different to you or do you stay in your pew and send judgmental looks to them?
God finds the most amazing ways to humble me. To put me into situations that I would never choose to be in on my own. But it never ceases to amaze me that if I will simply do what God would have me do…listen to others…He will provide the means by which He joins the conversationIt’s neither our job to save souls nor condemn them. We are God’s vessels, the means by which others are drawn to Him and a relationship with Him. How? Simply by walking our walk…and allowing others to watch us while we do it.
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him… –Luke 24:13-35