Warren Edwards - 11/01/2009
Yesterday was an awesome day. Have you ever had a friend who was so anti-God that you just had to give him back to the Lord because you thought there was just no way you could ever break through the wall of doubt and distrust that surrounded him? I met a man when I was helping to build the light rail transit system here in Edmonton. He was the safety officer for the prime and I was the safety officer for the company doing the tunneling and underground work ... it would have been about three years ago when we met.
The people I was working for told me that I would absolutely hate this man when I started working with him. He was hard, mean and completely unreasonable. He was, but I really don't worry about these things and did not put my guard up and was completely honest with him in every dealing, knowing that people cut from that cloth just did not know how to deal with people cut from my cloth and at best he would get under my skin only a few times before he just would not know what to do about me (an honest man can't be intimidated) and I was right. He came at me with his fury a few times and then realized I had nothing to hide or cover up and it melted his defenses and we became friends (working), much to the amazement of everybody around us.
We started to hang out some, but not much, as we had nothing but work and my cancer in common (his father died of lung cancer). I would leave him and think, Lord, why are we together? This man is a heathen and has no interest in salvation. He leaves me feeling dirty ... or something; hard to explain. But the Spirit would always lead me to say, "Sure, let's get some lunch" or "Sure, we can go there". And we did sort of bond, but I still always felt I was doing something wrong or something every time I left him. He grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and had no use for that God, but had managed to hold onto the teaching regarding salvation being impossible outside that church. I can safely say he had no respect at all for the Lord and it hurt me bad at times -- real bad. But still the Spirit would tell me that there is a loving man in that tent, keep saying yes to him. Now this man even threatened to break both my legs with a baseball bat if he ever caught me preaching. He out of the blue one day told me he could see me setting up a tent somewhere to pitch my mean God. I smiled and told him none of my bones will ever be broken, just can't happen. He looked at me like I had lost my mind or something ... I smiled again. He dropped the subject.
We continued to go places and he would ask me questions and I continued to give him answers that he could just not accept or something and we would always just talk about something else, which is not much with me as I really don't think about much of anything but the Lord. But still he continued to want to hang out with me and I continued to feel like I had just been someplace I was not supposed to go, but found my heart changing to the same view of him that the Holy Spirit had ... there is a loving man in this tent.
Okay, thanks for your patience. It is a long story, though. So Saturday we had to spend about four hours in the car together. He wanted to buy one of those camper bus things and asked me to come along.
We were not in the car for two minutes and it started:
How can you say you love the God that has kept you in pain and heartache your whole life?
Well, yes, the world could view me as a loser, poor, easy mark, dumb for choosing to help another instead of myself, willing to lose a job to save a soul and just completely out of touch with how the world "really" operates, and I would have to agree; but I'm not of this world, I am a son of God and in His world I am a success. I have ended up exactly as I should have.
What? How can you say that?
It's easy. You have been around me long enough to see lives changed every time something happens to me. People all around me are changed ... that's the work of the Spirit ... not me, Him. Why do you ask these questions? You know I am going to tell you it is all part of His plan, a plan He had for me before I was born. I don't care what happens to me here ... you know that. My Father is from a place called Everlasting. Think about that for a minute. Like Him, I will never die. You will die and your death is forever and ever ...
But science has proven the Bible to be full of errors; you can't be sure of that.
Sure, I can be certain. The Bible has proven science to be full of errors and every time anyone has done an honest study of a supposed error, they have been found to be wrong and the Bible has been found accurate and without error.
But what about your life? You have to admit, God is a very cruel God. You know they have found books that say God likes to hurt us.
I don't know about the books, but I am sure if they exist and are given honest evaluation, they will be found to be works of men, not God. My life? What life? I blinked and the childhood I thought was going to last forever was over. I blinked again and my youngest child graduates from college this year. One more blink and I am compost ... what life?
Wow, you're right. I remember the first day I went to work and now I'm buying a bus and thinking about retirement, and all I did was blink ... I never thought about it like that.
If God is so smart and loving, why did he create the devil? He had to know what would happen.
Wow, now that's a good question. I have asked and when I brought it to God this is what He told me: "I AM a God of love. I could create mindless minions to follow me all day long, but there would be no love, no trust, no longing or fellowship, no joy ... what purpose would that serve for Me or you? The devil is part of My plan; he was not a mistake, he is necessary".
Well ... what about church? You know I will never go into one.
Church is an invention of man. We are in church now. Whenever two or more of us are gathered in His name, He is with us. We are not alone. Church is going on all over the world right now. We are not the only people talking about God at this very moment and we are joined by people who are praying and singing. Our church never closes; it's always open. When we get together for a meal and talk about Him, we are the church of the new covenant, we are all one in Jesus. Everything we do we do together; we are never alone.
How can anyone be saved? I can't say, okay, now I believe in Jesus, and all of a sudden stop sinning and believe everything you believe. It would be a lie; I don't really believe.
Tell Him that. Say, "Lord Jesus, I do not know what to believe, but I want to know the truth. Please help me". He will move Heaven and earth for you if you tell Him that. Man has complicated the simplicity of salvation; you need only ask. Jesus already knows what you want and is only waiting for you to take that first leap of faith. He cannot help you if you don't ask ... remember the mindless minions: you're not one of them. He respects you. Your life is your own right now. He will not trespass; you have to invite Him. We would not be having this conversation if God had not led you to Him already. Just tell Him what's on your mind and carry on with your life. You have started to change already. Soon you will start to understand the changes and then you will learn to anticipate them. It really is very beautiful. Read your Bible and ask Him to help you understand what you're reading and you will.
But you say He never leaves you. How am I even going to know if He is listening to me?
Think about our friendship. When we first met you and I had almost nothing in common. At first you did not trust me or know me, but little by little you started to know me and after a while you started to trust me, and now I believe with all my heart that if I was in pain or need, you would be there for me. You have changed along the way whether you know it or not. Your relationship with Him will start like that and soon it will be like our friendship and then it will start to become something you could never imagine being without. And once you start a loving relationship with Him, you will realize you still sin, but now you know when you have, and it will hurt you to know you have. You will bring it to Him in prayer and He will take it away ... your hurt and His. Ask Him for understanding and wisdom and soon you will believe like me. I'm not special in any way. The only difference between you and me is I already love Him and know He loves me; you want to believe but have doubts. Tell Him your doubts and ask Him to give you what I have. He will.
Will I get that Spirit you have? I have always thought spirits were demons and I'm afraid. Kinda thought that was why your life was so hard.
Big smile (mine). Yes, you will get the Spirit, but first things first: Ask every question that comes to your mind. Call me. I don't care if it's day or night. My life is not hard, it's just a little like His. Remember to bring everything to Him in prayer day or night. He will put you first on His list and you will be His joy before He is yours. Just try to trust me with that.
Okay ... Are you sure about that spirit?
Yes, I am sure.
What about the Bible? It's too hard to read. I can't understand the names and it messes me up.
How would you like to listen to the Bible anywhere you go?
Well ... I'd like that. Will I understand it?
You will. I will give you an undramatized NASB to get you started, and remember to ask Jesus every question that enters your mind. There is only one path to God. The Lord works in mysterious ways and I am so in love.