Torches Together

Two mega galvanizing (and linearly unrelated) incidents took place in the last twenty four hours that magnetized with my reading of Revelation and rocked my puny little paradigm.

First, I heard from an old co-worker of mine out of the blue last night who wanted me to know that not only was he most certainly born again but that he traced the time of his conversion to a year ago that day. He told me that I played a part in his coming to faith and that he has been growing in his discipleship and love for the Lord in the time since. Wait… what?? When I tell you that this was utterly unexpected it doesn’t come close to doing justice to what I felt. I was beside myself- for a year and half I had tried to impress upon my friend the absolute, non-negotiable necessity of savingly knowing Jesus and so often it felt like an impenetrable fortress of skepticism and/or apathy stared back at me acrossthe mud and barbed wire of No Man’s Land. A year ago yesterday I left Janesville with a measure of suspicion that perhaps he was beginning to open up to the gospel but I wasn’t confident in the surface appearance of things so uncertainty clouded my optimism. Hearing from him was so exciting and so rewarding and boosting to my faith- God didn’t have to clue me in that all those strained, awkward hours hadn’t been for nought, but in His infinite compassion He saw fit to.

Second, this afternoon I passed a cubicle and heard a female voice say, “…and it’s through Jesus alone.” A male voice responded the moment her sentence reached the period. “That’s very bold, you know? ‘Jesus is the only way.’ That’s very bold- that’s why I’m not sure it makes sense.”

“Oh, it makes sense,” I heard her declare, but the Doppler effect was already kicking in on that phrase as I continued walking down the hallway. I stopped for a moment, thinking perhaps I should listen in a little longer, but I would have to walk back towards them to pick up their conversation and they most assuredly would hear me returning their way. I decided not to creep them out and continued on my way, but suddenly felt a profound need to pray for what was taking place. I immediately begged God to empower her witness and tograciously flatten the walls of hostility surrounding her friend’s heart and mind. Then I felt an immense happiness at identifying with my sister’s effort to win this man and asking God to saturate that encounter with His loving, conquering might. The prayers of the saints being poured upon the world as depicted in Revelation all of a sudden felt really real! Then the flabbergastedness dealt its blow: Why don’t I do this all the time??

I petition you therefore to look at witness through the magnificent lens of Revelation and fight for joy through prayer as you remember the people of your church burning like candles out there in the world. Through our union with Jesus and our intercession in prayer however we are not a random assortment of individual, dinky little birthday cake candles- we’ll be like torches together, hand in hand, a million watt spotlight illuminating the world. We need to be diligent in praying for the Church’s witness, not only in its organized, institutional aspect, but especially I think in the everyday lives of the individual limbs of the Body. We can’t possibly foresee every encounter that could possibly arise but we can certainly anticipate some of them simply with the real life knowledge we gain through relationships within the church and when we become aware of evangelistic exchanges that are taking place in their lives we should throw ourselves into petitioning God to surge overwhelmingly in and through the testimony with all the persuasive, regenerating power of the Spirit. Let us constantly remember to plead with God for boldness and joy in the witness of our brothers and sisters, that they and we may articulate with intelligence and passion the historical events that form the basis of our reasonable faith.

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