What is the most awe-inspiring sight you have ever seen? Natural wonders like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite National Park may come to mind. Perhaps it’s the vastness of an ocean or staring into the eyes of a newly born son or daughter.
When I asked myself this question, the image that immediately came to mind was Downtown Chicago. There is something awe-inspiring to exit the elevator on observation deck of the John Hancock Tower and look down on Downtown Chicago. It is magnificent! With one look you can capture the beauty and simplicity of a thriving metropolis with millions of people. Yet, at the same time, you are looking at an incredibly complex system. Each building contains all of the necessities to support the lives of those who live and work there. Millions of miles of pipes create a water and sewer system; millions of miles of electrical wire carry electrical power to millions of tiny outlets. While the simplicity is clear to see, the complexity is lost in the very scope of the image. You can’t see the woman struggling with a broken down car or the ambulance rushing a dying man to a hospital. You can’t discern the young couple on their first date with love in their eyes, or the middle-aged couple meeting in separate buildings with their attorneys putting the final touches to the contract that will bring an end their 30-year marriage.
We live our lives in a relatively small space. While life should be simple, it proves to be rather complex. Slowly, if we are not careful, we become self-focused to the point we no longer even see the needs of others around us. It’s like looking at Downtown Chicago from the John Hancock tower, it’s too easy to look past the details of what’s happening in the lives of those around us.
God is watching the details of our life, and He cares about the details. He looks upon a city like Chicago and He sees and hears the woman in her prayer closet praying fervently for her son who has wondered into a dangerous life of drug use and sexual promiscuity, and He has compassion on her. He sees the young high school student mocking the street preacher and He has compassion on that young student and begins to open his ears and his heart to the gospel message being preached.
God is at work all around us, and He is asking us to join Him. That’s an amazing proposition. The God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, is asking you and me to join Him in his redemptive work throughout the world.
Over the next month, as we focus our attention on The Great Commission and what it means to us, begin to ask the Lord, “how can you use me?” The Lord will answer this prayer. The next prayer we need to pray is equally simple, but infinitely more difficult: “Lord, I know how you want to use me, now give me the faith to follow you in obedience as your Spirit leads.”
Let me close this week’s introduction with some words of encouragement from Jon Courson:
Dear saint, the Lord won’t force us to go any deeper in Him than we choose—but He will take us as deep as we wish.…
Some get their feet wet up to their ankles. They are standing on the promises, born again, saved.
Others, wanting to go deeper, go up to their knees—that speaks of prayer. “I want to do more than get my feet wet, Lord,” they say. “I want to be part of what You are doing. Use me in prayer.” And they get involved in intercessory ministry—praying in the Spirit.
Others, wanting to go deeper still, wade in to their waists—signifying reproduction. Not only are they standing on the promises, or up to their knees in intercessory ministry, they are adding to the kingdom by witnessing to their family, friends, and neighbors.
But there comes a point where some are just over their heads, saying, “Lord, I’m going to just let go. Have Your way in my life. I’m giving it to You without reservation. I don’t know where this will take me, but I’m Yours totally. Do what You want to do in and through me for Your glory.”
Maybe right now you’re in the doldrums in your walk. If so, I encourage you to launch out into the deeper waters of faith. Oh, maybe your kayak will get overturned in the rapids a few times and maybe you won’t know exactly where you’ll land. But I guarantee you won’t regret it. I’m so glad that the water of life flows right through heaven because it means that the Lord’s Spirit is on the move even there and that we can continue going deeper and deeper in Him throughout eternity.
This week’s R2R distinctive
God the Father (Psalm 121:1–2): We believe God is personally involved in and cares about the daily lives of His children.