When I got saved on May 20, 1985, I almost immediately made up my mind that I wanted to abandon everything and follow Jesus. My reasoning was simple. You see, I had spent thirty-nine years of my life as an unbeliever, much of that as an agnostic, and I didn’t want to meet Jesus at the Judgement Seat of Christ empty-handed, with only excuses in hand for my lukewarm lifestyle.
I also knew me. I knew if I didn’t go 100% for Him, I’d back off into a barely-get-by mode. So, my choice was really one or the other. I chose to sell out for Him as best I could.
My heroes became William Carey, David Brainerd, C. T. Studd, Hudson Taylor, Praying John Hyde, George Mueller, William Booth, Leonard Ravenhill and others. I read every book that I could find on them because I wanted to be like them.
Do you remember the Burundi and Rwanda civil war during the 1990s? Hundreds of thousands of women and children were slaughtered. I asked the Lord to send me there almost daily for weeks because this is what my heroes would have done. Eventually, a prophetic friend of mine stopped by to let me know the Lord wasn’t sending me there. (Just so you know, I told no one about my prayers of wanting to go to Rwanda. No one!)
Instead, it turned out the Lord had different plans for me, long term ones with deserts to cross and mountains to climb. Then I met a wonderful Christian woman and got married in 1996. Wedded bliss, right?
In twenty-three years of marriage, we have moved thirty-five times to nine different states and more than twenty different cities. We felt all of these moves were instigated by the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus.
Well, this morning I was praying for our four children and six grandchildren and it hit me: “I don’t really know our children and grandchildren.”
Oh, I’ve talked to them on the phone and have visited them a few times over the last twenty-three years, but we’ve hardly ever been there for any Christmases, Easters, birthdays, baseball games, school concerts, to babysit them, change diapers and so forth. They’ve grown up and we’ve grown old without them. These years can’t be replaced. They’re gone!
And what were we always doing? Moving and trying to survive.
You can probably imagine how sad and emotional I felt this morning. As I sat there looking at what we’ve missed the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “Just know that I have not let one person down who has left all and followed me. Not one!”
I broke down and cried, realizing the Lord has never let us down. I had foolishly looked back at what we had missed, rather than praising Him for what He has done and will do for us.
Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30)
My prayer today:
Lord, raise up a generation of believers – young and old – who are willing to turn their backs on everything and follow you, no matter what it costs them.
Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for the Body of Christ in America.