9/3/12 Henry, 69
“If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40) I am well aware that God doesn't need me. He really doesn't "need" any of us. If we were disobedient and refused to bear witness to Jesus and what He has done in our lives and in the world, we could easily be replaced. When Jesus was told by the Pharisees to quiet the crowds who were waving palm branches and praising God and welcoming Him into Jerusalem, He told them, basically, that the crowds could be replaced by stones! Jesus told them, and later Paul also wrote in Romans 1, that creation itself bears witness to Him and His glory. I was reminded of this today at a rest area on I-94 in Wisconsin, where I met a Native American from the Ho-Chunk Nation named Henry. I asked what he believes comes after this life. He said "Our spirits will go to a place where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain" which I recognized to be taken from Revelation 21. I had to be patient as Henry slowly told about his beliefs, for he even fell asleep briefly a few times as he talked. But it was worth the wait. "I'm 69, and I'm tired, and I'm ready to go there myself". "Do you have a church background?" I asked. "I am part of a Native American church, and we read the Bible, but even before the missionaries came and brought us Christianity, we knew about Jesus. We knew about a man with a beard from across the big waters who had died for the people. We were already familiar with this before the missionaries told us" "Do you know why Jesus died for the people?" I asked. He didn't, so I took some time to explain how His sacrificial death satisfies God's demand for a just punishment for our sins. I have a feeling that's what the early missionaries did too, filling in the details where the revelations of dreams and visions fell short. It is a privilege to bear witness to the details of the Gospel and a joy to be obedient to His commands to share the Gospel, but it is also humbling to realize that God doesn't really need us and that we can be replaced. "What a gift God has given us in Jesus" I told Henry. "Ah, but also what a gift His Son has left with us" he replied. "What gift is that?" I asked. "The gift of the Holy Spirit!" he said. No doubt Henry has a greater appreciation for the Holy Spirit than I will ever know.