A friend told me of being at an A.A. meeting where a young woman expressed thanks to God for delivering her from a terrible drug addiction.
The A.A. program teaches that in order to get free of a serious addiction it’s necessary to have a spiritual experience. Step Two reads: “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” And Step Three: “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
“I never knew about God,” said this young woman. “Nobody ever told me about Him. But now every morning when I wake up, I roll out of bed and get on my knees to pray. What a relief it is to turn my whole life over to God! It changes everything.”
Ah, yes—what a relief to know there is a God and to be able to turn to Him in all the difficulties of life, and to praise Him for all His goodness, His greatness, His grace, His gifts. I love Psalm 103 which begins, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
But we do forget. I once heard a well-known preacher say that before about ten a.m. and a second cup of coffee, he didn’t even believe in God. Like chalk from a blackboard, the night had erased his faith. For me there are days when I’ve so far forgotten the gospel that I have to begin all over again to re-evangelize myself.
Why is it so difficult to remember God? Perhaps because, being made in God’s image, it’s all too easy to slip into thinking we are God, which is what happened to Adam and Eve and to everyone else since. We are an entire race of creatures who walked away from our Creator because, really, who needs Him? Not only have we each individually closed our eyes to the truth, but we live in a dense cloud of lies in which every other human being has done the same. All have erred, all are dyed-in-the-wool sinners. Moreover there exists an army of invisible beings who also sinned and who, hating us for being superior, do everything in their power to destroy us.
Yet we must—must must must—remember God. And we must press on to tell the wonderful Good News of Jesus Christ to a generation who, like that young woman, haven’t even heard of God and so desperately need His love.
Fiery preachers, radical evangelists, passionate prophets—where are you? Where are those who preach not just to the church but to the world?
RISE UP! RISE UP!
Later in Psalm 103 we read:
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His love for those who fear Him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (11-12)
I picture these verses in the form of a cross: the vertical beam for the first half—“as high as the heavens”—and the horizontal beam for the second—“as far as east is from west.”
This is the Good News, the benefits of God: limitless love and forgiveness forever. It’s a good deal, people!
A very good deal.
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