9/18/13 Dennis about 30
If God is so loving, why does the Bible teach that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom? Wouldn’t it be better for a relationship with God to begin with an emphasis on His love? A conversation with Dennis, a non-believer whom I first reached out to at the coffee shop almost two years ago helped me understand this more clearly. Weeks after that initial conversation, we met again for another long talk, but we hadn’t talked again until he called and we met again today. “I haven’t been ready to talk all this time” he explained, “but I’m ready now”. “Why now?” I asked. “What has changed?” “My view of Jesus has been changing. I’m starting to see God as a much more greater, cosmic force than I ever did before.” he said. I wondered if he was viewing God more as an impersonal energy source like many new age beliefs. He didn’t, but now has a much greater appreciation for God’s awesome power in view of the unimaginable vastness of creation. We talked more and I asked “How does this different view of God affect your view of Jesus?” “Because I have a greater understanding of the claim He made to be as the Son of God.” Dennis was starting to wrap his mind around the implications of the Gospel and what it means that God is God and we are not, and what it might mean if Jesus really is whom he claimed to be. Was two years too long of a time to begin to understand this? Should we expect people to come to a quick understanding and acceptance of a Gospel that takes more than a lifetime to comprehend? Should we view our witnessing efforts as a failure when they don’t? Or should we patiently wait for the Holy Spirit to work in those ways that only He can work? How many of us can say we truly “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph.3) And to truly understand the love of God – and the depth of our sin – we must begin with the greatness and holiness of God, as fearful and terrifying as it is.