Last week I told you about something I don’t know. This week I want to tell you about something I do know. It’s something that I know as true as the sky is blue and cotton candy is sweet.
I know that is doesn’t matter what you’ve been up to, what skeletons lurk in your closet, what you’ve consumed to numb your world or how you have killed a thousand people in your mind and thought the worst of things upon others. None of that affects the welcome mat at God’s door.
The other day I was talking with a buddy that I’m rather fond of. This person said that it was not right for them to pray (eg: talk) to God and ask for anything when they do not keep a routine prayer-life, or even regularly attend a church, read a Bible, etc… In fact they thought it would be rude and disrespectful… you don’t go asking for stuff from a stranger.
I considered this opinion, but I could not help from blurting out my strong response. “THAT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO GOD! GOD IS THRILLED TO HEAR FROM YOU – EVEN IF IT’S BEEN 20 YEARS SINCE YOU LAST TALKED…. OR EVEN IF THE TWO OF YOU HAVE NEVER TALKED BEFORE, FOR THAT MATTER”. This is what I know as undeniably true.
Even today, a co-worker talked about “maybe” going to church – but that she’s too “messed up” for that… I told her she couldn’t be more wrong about that and that chruch IS for people like her and I… messed up people. God wants us as we are now, and waits for us.
Okay, I don’t want to paint a pansy picture of God; He’s not likened to a teen-age girl that waits and waits by the phone for her boyfriend to call. Cause God is big and strong and I wouldn’t categorize Him as “needy”. But He is more like when you show up to a friend’s house for dinner. They’ve been expecting you; the welcome mat is out and freshly cleaned. When they open the door, they are so glad to see you! It’s hugs and smiles as you are ushered in and asked, “What can I get you? Some food? A drink? Let me take your coat and bag (and burden).” As you enter their beautiful and inviting home, you even offer to take off your shoes, but your friends say you don’t have to remove your shoes; you are welcomed in just as you are… even with street dirt and grime. That is what God is like. You were expected (even if you didn’t know it) and you are always greeted warmly and welcomed with open arms.
I tried to explain the familiar story of the Prodigal Son to my buddy in relation to talking to God. See this selfish kid (the Prodigal Son) took his dad’s money and split the nest to live the high life of partying and luxury. But when the money ran out and the son was left with no option but to find food in barn animal troughs… he got humble and started crawling back home. Then the best-unexpected thing happened. His dad saw him coming in the distance and got out the welcome mat and prepared a wonderful dinner. And when the son came back, expecting to need to beg and figured he would be chastised for his ungrateful behavior, his dad said, “None of that matters, what matters is that you are back, I have always loved you.”
See that’s the type of story that captures you, why has no one in Hollywood made a great modern day movie of this story? You would cry when you see the hurt on the dad’s face as the son leaves, you would cry when you see the son devastated and eatting in a pig sty, and you would cry sweet tears of joy at the end of the movie when the dad hugs his filthy and stinking son.
There is a soft spot in us that needs acceptance, and it’s scary to think that God fits there. God is big and our soft spot is small… God can do big things, and we are helpless little creatures in the scope of the universe. We think we are all too messed up to get God’s grace and love. It doesn’t make any sense that He loves us. But regardless, God fits when we open up – when we look for Him. Period.
In Matthew 7:7 (NIV) Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Another version, with my emphasis, explains it like this “Be direct with God. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. Look, if your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of doing such a thing to your child. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”
Has it been forever since you talked with God? Do you think you can’t approach Him cause your filthy and stinky? It doesn’t matter. Not even an ounce. Please, just pray, just do it. Do it in your head, don’t’ worry, no one will hear you except God. Sure it might be a little humbling and you may even feel foolish. You might not even feel sure that anyone is on the other side of your coversation. But all you have to do is say “Hi God, it’s me.” And as soon as you knock the door is opened wide and you will be greeted and welcomed just as you are. Street grime, skeletons and everything.
If you are a regular “talker” with God, but know someone who might be like my buddy… please share with them that it’s okay to talk to God, even if they are not sure about God or havn’t stepped foot into a church. Evangelism is hard, I’m awful at it, but sometimes and email and a link are a simple do-able start.
Lastly, I’m sharing a song by DecembeRadio with you called “Look For Me”. (the video could have had a much better story line – but the words are very good!)
There´s a shadow heavy as a blanket keeping all the light from shining through. There´s a doubt deeper than the hope that this world could ever offer you. There’s a war raging like a storm ripping through the core of what you know is true. There´s a peace that passes understanding let it be the hand that you hold onto. I´ll be the one that never lets you go – I want you to know that
If you ever wonder where you are, If you ever think you´ve gone too far, I´ll be that light out in the dark just look for Me
I´ll be standing here with open arms, So close your eyes and trust your heart, And then you´ll see that I am all you need
Just look for Me
There´s a grace dying to erase all that you´ve said and done. There´s a love always big enough doesn´t really matter what you´re running from. Let your faith take you to a place where life has just begun. Let your soul step into the flow brother don´t you know you can let it go. I want you to know that
When you feel alone just look for Me look for Me. I´ll be your eyes when you cannot see. So lay down your pride step inside. And let forgiveness cover you. You know it’s true I´ll never leave you.