Going, going, gone! Before I knew it, my peace was gone!
God often has a specific set of instructions for his children, and if his children do not listen carefully, they may miss something very important. More than that, it may end up costing them their peace of mind. Such was my own case, recently, when, in no uncertain terms, my “peace” began to vanish. This was not normal for me. I was not used to losing my peace! And it was a horrible feeling. All I could ask (God) was, “Have I sinned? Have I disobeyed? Have I missed the mark? Where am I out of your will?” Thus it was that I went for a walk. I felt I “had” to get outside, and “figure this one out”. The feeling was, in no uncertain terms, “horrible”, and I had to do something about it!
Well, it wasn’t more than ten or fifteen minutes later, when I felt convicted of sin. And I confessed to the Lord, “Lord, I confess, I have sinned by not being sensitive to others and by not loving them.” This confession rang very true in my spirit! You know, deep down, we often “know” what the problem is, but we need to go for a walk and spend time alone with the Lord before he will reveal it to us. As it was, I had actually stepped out of a church service in order to spend time alone with the Lord. You may find that rather strange, but, better off repentant AWAY from a church service, than hard-hearted in the MIDST of it! And that was my case. Inside that church service, I was being hard-hearted. But as soon as I stepped away from it, I was able to clearly discern the voice of the Lord, “You’re not being sensitive to others, and you’re not loving them.”
Such was my confession, and, as soon as I made it, I knew it was the truth. But there was something “deeper still” that I had to deal with!
“Just WHO, Lord, are you referring to, in this matter of my being insensitive and not loving?” That was the “one million dollar question”.
“Mike” (not his real name), came the reply.
You might say, “Did God really tell you the name of the person, just like that?”
The answer is, “Yes”. He came clearly to my mind. He was the one I was being insensitive to.
You see, only a week earlier, I had met Mike’s wife at church and told her I would come over to visit Mike. Mike was not doing well spiritually and had been away from church for many weeks. The Lord had put it on my heart to come over to Mike’s house and tell him – somehow – that he was loved. A full week had now passed. I had not come good on my promise yet. Now the Lord was grieved. And I lost my peace. The Lord’s word to me was, “You are in sin, my son. You are not being sensitive to others, and you are not loving them!” That short walk – right in the midst of a church service – revealed all that. And it was crystal clear.
Little did I know that, by this time, even Mike’s wife had given up on church. You see what a week can do! The Lord had put it in my heart the week earlier to say to Mike’s wife, “I will come over to visit him.” But now even Mike’s wife needed help. And they had two young children who loved coming to that church. It was obviously very grievous to the Lord to see his children going astray. And, as it turned out, I was one of the very few “life lines” that this couple had. In fact, I don’t think it’s incorrect to say that no one else from the church came to visit them during this time. In fact, who even knew that they were experiencing spiritual problems?
Churches can be awefully large and even impersonal places – strangely enough – and it is easy to get “lost” in the shuffle. Had not even my wife and I left a previous church that we were at partly on account of feeling almost insignificant and unnoticed? The church ought not to be like that, but often it is. The Lord is concerned for his people, and we need to obey him by being sensitive and loving to others around us. It can make a tremendous difference in a person’s life – the difference between staying with the Lord, and falling away! The difference between a family at peace, and a family full of turmoil! The difference between a good, noble, legacy, and one that is fully of corruption, hurt, and bitterness!
Yes, that is the impact that we, the people of God, have, in the midst of the church. But are we making a difference? Are we noticing those that are around us? Do we even care? Sometimes, I admit, we are too concerned about our own problems. But the truth of the matter is, there is always someone that can be helped by us. My challenge today is, “How can we make an impact in someone’s life today? And just who exactly is it that God has placed in our lives that we are able to influence for the better?” God is not asking that we do anything “super human” but really something that is down to earth, like taking the person out for a donut or a coffee, and chatting. This often leads to great blessing in a person’s life, and, let’s be honest, the two get blessed, not just the one.
Today, reach out and touch someone. If my guess is correct, God has specifically put someone in your path that could use your help. Don’t delay. And don’t wait till you begin to lose the peace, like I did. But rather, be proactive, and make that phone call, and set a time to meet, even for a coffee and donut, and the Lord will surely reward you. I know, because he did so in my case! Before I even finished my short visit with Mike, he said to me – without my even prompting him – “I’ll be at church next week, and I’ll look for you!”
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)