Against all odds, Back to School time has come! As we all continue to pray for God's help and healing through this strange virus, we also prepare for a great season of opportunity. All across the nation - and truly around the world - university students are heading back to campus over the next few weeks. The darkness is indeed great at most universities, and too many wicked snares await young minds and hearts.
However, there are also Christian ministers, missionaries and students on many of these campuses, ready to share the truth, love and power of the Good News of Jesus with as many students and faculty members as they can. Please pray for these brave men and women, that God would protect them and give them great courage as they bring the light of Christ into the darkness.
In honor of our campus ministers and missionaries, following is an essay that Eli and I wrote several years ago for a missions journal. Throughout the ages, the question has always been, why bother trying to help and rescue people living in darkness? Duty or pity alone cannot sustain anyone for very long. The heart for purposefully going to the darkest, hardest places to share God's love can be found in Luke 19:10...
For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.
Several years ago, our family attended a conference on a university campus. One afternoon our three year old went missing from the student center where we had been working. As it became apparent that our little girl was lost, my heart sank and with each passing moment I began to feel more and more nauseous and anxious. Words cannot describe the depth of anguish and despair we felt that day. With the help of university police, we frantically searched all four floors of that building, eventually spilling out into the parking lot and covering the four city blocks of the campus. She was completely lost.
In Luke chapter 15, we read Jesus’ three parables about lost things – the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost sons. Contextually, however, the emphases lay not on the things which were lost, but rather on those to whom the lost things belonged – the shepherd, the woman, the father. The third parable is frequently called the Parable of the Prodigal Son – but as G. Campbell Morgan suggested, perhaps a better name would be the Parable of the Father’s Heart, for in this story we see the broken heart of God revealed. This father was actively watching, waiting and yearning to be reunited with his lost child. That is exactly the way God feels about every one of His children who are lost and separated from Him.
To quote G. Campbell Morgan, “It is well now to remind ourselves that when we speak of a lost man or woman, the final emphasis in our thinking should not be on the lost person, but on the one who has lost that person. When we speak of a man being lost, do we think most about his suffering, or of the suffering of God?” When the devil has kidnapped a child of God, it is God who hurts the deepest, who suffers most. His heart is broken as He can foresee the inevitable consequence of lost relationship - eternal separation. When I remember the way we felt about our one lost child, I cannot begin to imagine the Father’s exponential pain over the multitude of His lost children from every corner of the earth. When our daughter was lost, I wanted everyone, everywhere to drop what they were doing and help us find her. It was inconceivable to me that anyone, especially those I loved most, would be able to rest until she was safely found.
In 2 Samuel 23, we read about three of David’s Mighty Men who heard a sigh from their king’s lips - his simple longing for a drink of water from the well near the gate at Bethlehem. Risking their own lives, they crossed enemy lines in the dark of the night and retrieved the drink of water for their king. It is clear that these three men were close enough to their king, in proximity but more importantly in relational intimacy, to hear the longing of his heart. They were never given a command. Their king’s longing became their immediate, voluntary and dangerous mission.
After the longest hour and twenty minutes of my life - in which every passing minute felt like an eternity - we found our daughter. The moment I saw her, I had an instant understanding of the joy in heaven that erupts when a lost person is reunited with the Father. I cried out with happiness and could not stop hugging her. The intensity of the darkness which had accompanied her loss was matched only by the elation I felt when I held her in my arms again.
Today as you pray, rather than pouring out your heart to God, ask Him to pour His heart to you. Our King is a wonderful and loving Father who suffers deeply at the loss of His children. If we love Him, we will listen. Eventually we will feel His broken heart. If we love Him we will, like the mighty men of old, make His longing our mission no matter what the risk. What is the cry of God’s heart? He is weeping over His lost children; watching, waiting and yearning for them to come home.
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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