I Am A Wanted Man
When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers.
I have been writing about several things in my blog since I started. But one of the main things I have been writing about is how much God loves us. I very rarely talk about myself whether good or bad, but here it goes.
Recently we had a class at church and in small groups we were to tell about our experience in the church. Not in a church building, but church as in the body of Christ. People in my group told of their experience, and then I told mine. One person in my group said something I never fully thought about before. But now I want to share it with you.
My family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, just in time for me to start high school. Moving to New Orleans was a real culture shock. There were lots of voodoo, witchcraft, and racism. In the early 1970s I know of one high school that had Witchcraft as an elective. I’m sure there were others. Just think, in high school you could chose to take shop, home-making, or witchcraft.
One day I found some high school students that belong to Youth For Christ. After awhile I asked Jesus into my heart… mostly. I could see that to fit in I should witness to others about Jesus. But I wanted to play it safe. So I handed out tracts at our Christian church youth group. To my surprise, my parents were getting complaints from other parents. I was told to never hand out Christian tracts at that church again, even if it was a Christian church. I knew something was wrong.
Later I enlisted in the US Coast Guard and was stationed in Alaska. And there I turned my back on the Lord. I never really done anything very bad… except I did steal a wedding cake once. (You can read more about this in my book A Whole Mess Load Of Grace.) A chief cook who happened to be a Christian would often invite me over to have lunch with his wife and himself. And of course he would talk to me about Jesus.
When I was transferred to Seattle, again someone was talking to me about Jesus. I again ask the Lord into my life and this time I meant it. Since that time I have been laughed at, fired from a job, insulted, even from those who were close to me. Once at a job someone did sloppy work and then signed my name to it. A real friend found out about it before I did, told me and even reported the whole wrong doing to our supervisor. (I don’t like talking about all this, but for some reason I feel I should.)
When I was done with my little story someone in our little group said it’s amazing how great God’s faithfulness is. God wanted me and was faithful to me. And after all that I’ve gone through, I stayed faithful to our Lord. And even though I am thankful for this, I am awed by it all. What is it that would allow me to turn to God, and not the next guy? The Bible says we are chosen. Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” How does that work? What makes me so special? These are things I don’t understand. When you consider that we are chosen and yet it’s our choice, it gets complicated.
If you apply for a job and and get it, it shows that you not only chose that job, the employer also chose you. Very simply I believe this is how it works with God. But then if you add in the fact that God knows everything, he would know that you would chose Him if given the chance. (Even if it’s not the first chance.) So I believe God would do whatever it takes to give you the chance to turn to Him. God gives that person a chance to repent. To make things more complicated, what about those who God chooses that normally would not follow Christ, like Saul? Saul at first didn’t even like Christians, but Christ chose him anyway. I could go on, but I won’t.
But I’m starting to get off topic. Some may say I survived persecution, but I haven’t. I haven’t been persecuted yet. I hope I never will be. Even though I do not like to be insulted, I don’t consider insults to be persecution. I know some may say getting fired is being persecuted. But let’s face it, this is nothing compared to what many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are going through in this country and around the world. Will I do as well as they do when the time comes? If it comes? I hope so. But I really don’t want to find out.
And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.