Psalm 5:11 But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. (Amp)
I had been attending a good church for several years when, one Sunday, the Pastor said something that made me uneasy. I squirmed in my seat for several minutes but continued to listen. If it had been any other Pastor I would have gotten up and left, never coming back again. I am cautious, to say the least, but I am also open and willing to listen. This particular Pastor had consistently given great sermons that made me confident that I could trust him and what he said.
It wasn’t just what he said but the way he said it. He cried. I’m not against Preachers crying but I feel I’ve been burned by the preaching style of insincere tears. I’m leery of those whose only method of moving me is overt emotionalism. I never really feel like it is of the Holy Spirit and I feel, during those type of sermons, that the Pastor really has nothing solid and he’s just working what little he does have into a whipped-up froth.
So, what did this Pastor say? He cried and said several times that he loved the name of Jesus. (I wondered if he was exhausted and running on empty because crying wasn’t usually his style.) But, at that moment I prayed something that has been a staple of my prayers whenever I hear something new from someone that I have trusted in the past.
What’s the prayer I prayed?
“Jesus, if he has something of You that makes him cry because he loves Your name so much, then I want it too. But, if all of these tears are only ballyhoo and phony baloney
then I don’t want any part of it. Jesus, I’m tired of feeling emotionally manipulated by Preachers because I do not believe that is from You. So, I lift this up to You and know that if I ask for bread You will not give me a stone. In Jesus’ name.” Matthew 7:8-9
Three days later, I too was weeping at the beauty of Jesus’ name. I never expected that to happen. I thought (for sure) that I would remember my prayer a week later and say, “Aha! that wasn’t of God after all!” But, instead I understood and felt what the Pastor felt. It was a wonderful emotion of both love and gratitude. I think I understand why the woman wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears and her hair; sheer love, thankfulness and deep gratitude. Luke 7:37-50
I think that this woman recognized the gift she had been given and it had come through love. Those who were at the table with Jesus that day only saw what this woman was doing as an annoying mystery. They couldn’t understand or accept a matter of heart like this woman could. Her frame of mind was not something they were willing to enter into and therefore they did not receive the life-altering blessing that she received. This woman dared to love much and was rewarded greatly.
This openness to Jesus, this feeling, this eye opening amazement; this gratitude, this adoring love of Jesus’ name, this forgiveness are the moments in life when I truly feel that I have connected with the Divine. I experience God’s love not as a distant observer but as one inside of it. These are the moments that defy the best “head knowledge” I could ever attain about God, Jesus and love. And these are the experiential, heartfelt moments that
I have a passion about with this blog. I yearn for everyone to experience God’s goodness so thoroughly that it leaves us all
…blinking in sunlight!…