I haven’t been so intentionally sharing the gospel with an non-believer for quite a while. Today I will have a chance, so obvious is the fruit ripen from that little seed being planted months ago. As I am racking my mind for metaphor and analogy, I remember how I once did the very same thing when I sat across from my dad in his home. Smoke of cigarettes were rising up in a puff and diluting into thin air. As I was inhaling nacotine into my lungs, I was exhaling stories upon stories of what the Lord had done for me.
I was painting a picture to him carefully and describably how we had always been sitting in darkness for a long time. You see a ray of beaming light somewhere down the road, but we couldn’t get near it, it took us a long way to inch our way towards that. We thought it was beautiful to stay where we were and admiring its beauty and its brightness. We stayed put for years, weepy and rotten. From a distance, we could see the dust dancing in the light cocoon, it was to me even the dust know how to sing in joy when they were under such exuberant brightness whereas we who were still sitting in darkness were limited to only sitting and looking and wondering and doubting.
By the move of His hands, we were under a current of inching closer and closer to the beaming light, the darkness around has become less inpenetrating, our focus on objects has become less disorienting. We continued to inch closer and closer, more light is illuminating the space around us. Now that we could see how our arms could move, how our legs could dance, how our fingers could wiggle, how our muscles could stretch. The light took us to see clearer and to undestand better. We were drawn to that light, yet we were hesitated what that exuberancy could take us. Would it blind our eyesight with its powerful beams? Would it expose the rugged pores of our ugliness? Would it freeze our motions with a zapping thunder? Would it do this, would it do that?
Yet we were toeing the line of that current of light, and BANG!! Here we were standing, surrounded by the fullness of His love, illuminated by the certainty of His salvation, softly lifted up by the spring of His grace. We were there standing looking directly to this light, so bright, soaked in glory and honour. We fell face down as it does expose the rugged pores of our ugliness, it does freeze our motions with a zapping thunder. Yet as our bodies crouched on the ground with our arms enveloping our heads to block the light from piercing into our pores and our eyes, the darkness around us shriek into smallness. The once vast reaches of darkness with its seemingly inpenetration wisps into a dull void, its once controlling disorientation crumbles into a limping thread, its once stronghold demolishes into a petty pebble. Useless and powerless!! Phephuffff!!
* * * *
That was what I shared with my dad a few years ago about the hope of His salvation and the hopelessness of our stubborness. He listened with a few puffs of smokes rising up into the ceiling wall. We opened to Isaiah 55, the words were like drops of morning dews into my heart, and his heart.
“What can you possibly do? Don’t be so naive!! The UN should do something, the policy maker should do something!”
“No, Dad, you and I could do something. My faith in Lord Jesus doesn’t invite me to sit in the pews every Sunday. He invites us to live it out by not only sitting but standing in solidarity, but fighting with faith knowing the God that we believe in is on our side.”
He argued that the hopelessness in Cambodia was not in my league just by flaunting an ancient Jew named Jesus.
“But Dad, it’s exactly by the power of the name of Jesus that Cambodia will be transformed.
Our Lord Jesus is doing it, don’t you get it, Dad?
Don’t you see it, Dad?
Don’t you hear it, Dad?
It’s Him who has been beckoning us to inch towards the light. The very same light we are in right now is the very same light that will turn Cambodia into a land of milk and honey.
For the world to see a nation once being so tortured, oppressed and exploited, now being so transformed not by the hands of men, nor by the policy maker, nor by the UN ambassador, but by the church of Christ.
The power of self-denial, the power of self-sacrifice, the power of innocence, the power of faithfulness, the power of His love – this is the power for which all the world waits in breathless anticipation. Does it always know that it so waits? Hardly!! Yet when the Servant/Messiah, the “arm of the LORD”, is revealed to them, there is frequently that immediate sense of recognition, that satisfying click of a key fitting in a lock, of a vague memory suddenly coming to full consciousness.
It is this spreading salvation creates a welcoming response in our hearts the world over!! Isaiah 51:1-8 —
1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
2 look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
4 “Listen to me, my people;
hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
my justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
and wait in hope for my arm.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.
7 “Hear me, you who know what is right,
you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
or be terrified by their insults.
8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
my salvation through all generations.”