Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When the Treasure Becomes Terrifying

It was just a fun night at the lake. It was just me and my friends filling the Chicago air with laughter.

Laughter. Fun. Happiness. We were carefree.

I looked out into the dark lake, as I have done so many times over this past year and a half.

But I was the only one looking. And as I stared out into the lake, a glowing circle fell from the sky. "Was that the moon?" I asked my friends. My answer came when an electric explosion rose from the lake. I knew that it was the moon the instant everything grew the blackest of black that I had ever seen.

Chaos ensued. I noticed for the first time the crowds of people that surrounded me. My friends and I were not alone. There were cries of desperation and devastation as the crowds had no idea what was going on. I became frantic. I knew.

I knew that Jesus was returning soon - at any moment. I knew that I was going to be with Him soon. I also knew that this crowd of people around me did not know where they were going because they were frantically searching for answers in the dark. I cried out to my friends, "We have to tell them! We have to tell them where they're going! We have to tell them that there is hope. This is our last and only chance!" I cried out in desperation.

And then I woke up.

I was thankful that this dream wasn't a reality. It was vivid. It felt real. But I woke up in my room, in my dorm at school, just like any other day. What did this mean? I didn't think too much of it that day.

Then I went out into the city. As I began to walk across the crosswalk, I flippantly commented to my roommate, "Sometimes I forget that these cars have people in them." I didn't think much of it until she looked back at me and said, "Wow, that was deep." I didn't mean for it to be deep. Actually, I didn't mean anything profound by it at all. But she got me thinking. I have forgotten. I have forgotten that this city is filled with real people with real needs and a real eternity ahead of them.

Then I rode on a city bus. I looked around at all of the faces before me who have so easily just blended together as I mind my own business, go where I need to go, and hardly acknowledge their presence. That night was different. The Lord brought back my dream. He brought back the flippant remark I had made about forgetting that the hundreds of cars around me are filled with people. And my heart broke. I have become numb. I study at Moody Bible Institute. Every day, I am being prepared for more ministry. Every day, I have conversations with friends about the Lord and His work in our lives and where He is leading us. Every single day.

And, yet, I have lost myself in theology. I have lost myself in my pile of books, in my twelve page papers, in my hours of classes and work. I have lost myself in the petty controversial issues that ensnare the Church. Although I believe it is good to talk about these issues and although I am thoroughly enjoying and learning from my time here at Moody and although I feel extremely blessed because I know that I am, I have forgotten.

I have forgotten about the moment a year and a half ago when I looked out over the city from the hotel window when I was visiting Chicago for the first time. I have forgotten the brokenness that my heart felt for the hundreds of people that I saw walking in crowds. I saw them as individuals then, as individual hearts in need of a Savior.

Now I just see crowds. Crowds and cars and faces without souls. I am thankful that my dream was not a reality. I am thankful that I can take it as a wake-up call. I am not sure what to do about it now. I don't even know what my next step is yet... but I know that the Lord has not placed me here in this great city to study at this great college to selfishly hoard my faith. It is a treasure that must be shared.

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." -2 Corinthians 4:6-7

It is a treasure not meant to be hoarded or stashed away. If it were meant to be, Jesus would have never come. There is no joy in selfishly hoarding our faith. Actually, it becomes terrifying when I hoard it. Images of my dream, of the people frantically searching in the dark for hope, flood back to me and it haunts me. Some of those people in that crowd are people that I know. Others are strangers whom I have never met. All of them are people that Christ has died for.

It is a treasure meant to give away, for to us it has been given. Eternity is before us and we must not forget the reality we are living in that we will enter His presence at any moment.

Let's not forget or become numb. May I give my life away for the King and His Kingdom, for it is my desire that when He returns, I will not be found hoarding this Treasure.

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