Today, the coast of Japan was hit by tsunami waves, brought about by an earthquake measuring 8.9 magnitude. In our part of the world, the Friday measured an ordinary medium from 0-10, still too early to gauge and rate what the day will be like. But, along with the morning breakfast came the devastating news. And along with the devastating news, always likely, came the Facebook statuses. We’ve become a generation of commentators, summing up catastrophic world events in 240 characters or less.
As I carefully composed mine, several thoughts hit me, all probably very true, and some assumptions, but I had to filter my thoughts before I could bare ideas that would eventually permeate through people’s computers, thoughts that too will reach the same commentators.
Of course, almost everyone requested for prayers for those affected, while some expressed grief and concern. Some offered outlets for help, links for donations. Not one smirked out of satisfaction, because who indeed could "like" the deaths of so many, the displacement of families/orphans who were relocated? Moments like this can unite humanity in the worldview that life has extreme value.
Admittedly, I had passing thoughts that agreed with the statuses warning people that Jesus’ second coming was at the threshold, but natural catastrophes and prophesies are nothing new. Crossing out the signs for end times is also nothing new, and as much as I don’t prioritize them, I also don’t discount them. I’m just thankful that God in His mercy still allows time for salvation, salvation for people I have and do not have the heart for, people I know and those I don’t. It makes me realize that it’s not fear that I want to instill on these people, telling them of impending doom, giving them a false sense of salvation, but it tells me how short my love is, how incredibly small my courage is to tell people that Jesus loves them.
You see, yes, Jesus is coming again. And yes there is a heaven and a hell. And yes eternal wages for sin is death, but I don’t want to drive you to Jesus because you’re scared. Is it legit? I guess…because I know that’s what got my attention when I was nine years old who said I wanted to know Jesus as a ticket to heaven. But He’s not a ticket.
Jesus is not a ticket you hold in your hand on that day we meet our Master.
Jesus is the way.
Jesus is the truth.
Jesus is the life.
I want you to meet Jesus, not out of fear, gripping Him as the ticket to get out of fire and brimstone, discarded after He’s served you His purpose. I want you to meet Jesus and believe the history, the complete story of His love for us, for providing a way into communion and relationship back to the Father’s heart. I want you to meet Jesus and see that from the moment we were born, this world has been lying to us, poking at us with false realities and pleasures, theologies and philosophies that make us believe we don’t need God, and that we’ve created Him and He exists for us and our emotional well being. In fact, He is the absolute truth. I want you to meet Jesus and understand that although this life has its beauty, the life God offers is eternal. The life God offers is more, and the beauty He reveals is exponentially more than what we can fathom.
So it’s time like these that remind me to love more, to thank God of His mercy, and yes, as we wait for His second coming, I’m not going to shout hell on my soapbox. But I do pray that God breaks my heart for what breaks His. And I want to be braver to tell you that amidst all the reverberations this tsunami has had on the world today, there is God who loves you. Life is valuable. And part of valuing life and having life means we still have the opportunity to know and experience His saving grace and live in His love.
So if you’ve read this far, and if you’ve read statuses scaring you to choose Jesus or hell, I hope that your day hasn’t driven you in fear. I’m hoping that you see today as the elected day to have been told that indeed God loves you, and you have the opportunity to know Him and truly believe that He is the way, the truth, and the life.
Believe it or not, you have a history with Him. Start the dialogue.