Journeys and Jesus

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 
I John 4:18
 
     Every natural life is a journey beginning with conception and ending with death.  We all make choices that influence what our lives look like and how the days of our journey progress along with what happens after death.  My journey recently has involved a lot of stripping away of once-held beliefs and the opening of my eyes to things I was once quite ignorant of.  Everyone is ignorant-moving overseas fixes some of that DSCN0130quickly.  I like to think I’m right about every belief I have. I like to think that I couldn’t possibly be wrong about anything. Even my kids know enough to know that’s not true.  And anyone who claims to not ever be wrong is arrogant and ignorant in their own way.  I seem to have many more questions than answers right now, including about things I’ve written below.  I have never been accused of being a great theologian (though I do believe I earned an A in Systematic Theology).  God has grown me, posed some queries to me and given me peace about things that don’t have answers at this point.  You may have questions after reading this and I make no promise I can answer them.
     As God has worked in my heart and my mind I’ve begun to see the world differently-seen Him differently.  Through this year I have found my relationship with God has simplified, deepened, and gone places unexpected.  I didn’t just want God in my life-I absolutely NEEDED God in my life. That is a very good place to be. And as I’ve seen how much I need God I’ve seen that really, if everyone looked at their lives, they need God, too.
     One of the things God has made profoundly clear to me is that He is not a God who belongs to anyone. He does not belong to the Catholics or the Protestants or the Orthodox or the Jews or the Muslims or the guy you passed while driving to work today. No person or organization owns God with special privileges to dole Him out as they see fit or like. Instead, God created each person uniquely and individually in His image, wonderfully and fearfully woven together to live on this earth.  That means that every person has been touched by God and has intrinsic value and worth given to him/her by God.  And it means that each and every person has the option to find God if they choose to search for Him.  He exists outside of this world and has His hand all over it.  He is the God of every person whether they choose to be in relationship with Him or not.  
DSCN0132     Which brings me to another thought-God can be found anywhere and saving faith in Jesus can happen anytime.  You might say “Oh, Becky, I know that!” But do you really? Do you think He can be found in a mosque during call to prayer? Or can someone laying flowers in a temple find the emptiness of the ritual and start asking questions? Or maybe when a person is burning a paper iPad for an ancestor in the afterlife that person has a desire to know the truth about what happens after death?  What about on the top of a mountain, along a sandy shore, out in a boat, or hiking through the jungle?  God is in all, He sees all, He reveals Himself through our entire world in ways that we think are odd or make us squirm because it doesn’t fit the idea of where someone should encounter Jesus and find saving grace in Him. 
     Let me be clear-I absolutely 100% without a doubt believe that Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE.  No one can get to the Father or have eternal life without true, saving faith in Jesus.  What I am saying is how and where someone comes to that place, and even how they live that faith after the decision is made, can easily look nothing like your own faith. That makes me uncomfortable-what about you? 
     As we all go along the journey of life we are in one of two categories: sinner or saint.  The change from sinner to saint doesn’t occur because God suddenly begins caring about a person. God exists in everyone’s journeys whether they acknowledge it or not and loves with such a deep, profound love that I can’t even begin to fathom it.  The change in the relationship happens when God is sought and a desire for God’s saving grace is expressed.  God promises that those who truly seek Him will always find Him.  It’s about a choice every person has to make and a gift I pray everyday that more and more people will accept.
 

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