In My Fair Lady, after Eliza Doolittle has proven she can be the lady her upbringing denied, she returned to the flower stands where she made her living before Henry Higgins made her his personal project. Only to find she didn’t belong there anymore. She went to several persons, looked them in the eye and purchased flowers. Only one man said she reminded him of someone he knew.
Where she would go, she didn’t know; she knew she no longer belonged among the Cockney’s. TCM, 1/26/14
Christians understand the dilemma. Conversion to Christ always has a defining impact on us. Whatever we were before being born again, we can’t be THAT! Like the assumed apocryphal story about Augustine: he met and passed a lady he had known carnally in his pre-Christian life. When he didn’t stop to talk, she called back to him, “Augustine, it is I.” He replied, “Yes, I know, but it is not I.”
We don’t know if that happened, but the point is true. Once rescued from our past, we not only shouldn’t go back…we can’t…for real conversion means we don’t belong there anymore. Unlike Eliza, we know God has determined where we’re to go, where we should live, and what we should be doing while there. Ephesians 2:8-10.
Soldiers in all wars have repeatedly written to parents/wives/friends asking for mail. The letters sustained them. Sharpened awareness of their purpose in being far away. Maintained a nexus with all they knew before the war. Which they held firmly in mind and heart. It didn’t matter that the letters wouldn’t reach them for weeks at a time. Or that those mailed later came before those mailed earlier. Mail constituted a link with the past to which they longed to return in the future. The Homefront, 198.
Positively-answered prayer, like letters from home, creates comfort, security and hope in the believer. It reminds us whose we are. It reinforces our discipleship. It keeps us immovable in commitment. In addition, and equally important, once we know by experience that God can answer prayer because he HAS, we’ll maintain faith in him when he WON’T. We’ll know that we can trust his infinite wisdom even when he doesn’t recognize our immediate need.
A religious scholar, student of world religions, once told a group of people that religion, whether Western, Far Eastern or South Asian, was developed by humanity to find answers to “one of three great questions” all humans face: “how to deal with relation to nature, to other persons and to self.” San Diego Union, 4/14/90
Obviously, God didn’t figure in the teacher’s world view; all questions and answers could be resolved from within the human mind and heart. Though God said that the human heart was deceitful above all things, Jeremiah 17:9. Though God said to study his word to discover answers and Indian philosophy said explore “the mind within”—the old Satanic “Christ-within” lie. Though God said we must know him correctly to ever get ourselves straight, and our relationship with others harmonious and Indian philosophy says we can all live in peace and harmony by studying ourselves.
Satan never stops lying. The problem is that many love his lies and swear that God’s truth deceives.
The man who shared in the December 17, 2013, Mega Millions Lottery jackpot drawing, almost missed claiming it by forgetting it. Suddenly awakened from his sleep at 3 AM one morning, the delivery driver remembered being in San Jose, where the winning ticket was purchased, and at a gift shop where he purchased 5 Quick Pick tickets. After pawing through used lottery tickets on the dresser, he found the ticket. While the other winner chose to receive a lump payment of $120 million after taxes, the California winner hadn’t made his choice by January 4, 2014. San Diego Union Tribune, 1/4/14
The story suggests a compelling spiritual truth. Jesus Christ has already won and guaranteed forgiveness and eternal life to all who accept him as Savior and Lord. Our trouble is that, like Steve Tran with his lottery ticket, we put Jesus aside because we’re busy or distracted or disinterested. He soon gets buried under the trivia of life until we forget him altogether. Only in a crisis do we remember him and return home.
No one needs to be lost. Christ’s sacrifice can save everyone from all depths to towering heights, the first-time sinner, the basted-and-marinated-in-depravity sinner. But we must be aware we are sinners in need and seek his forgiveness by personally committing our way to him.
Mr. Tran would have lost his wealth had a sudden remembrance not jarred him awake one night. But what infinitely greater loss do millions suffer when they die in their sins because no sudden personal crisis jars them awake to their spiritual need and Christ’s spiritual superfluity.
Thank God for all problems, losses and disasters that remind us that we have WON something from God we haven’t CLAIMED—and knee our way into his presence to have all our sins removed, none remaining.
A young man walked out of San DiegoCity jail and entered a taxi. Trouble was, seeing the cab unoccupied, he commandeered it and drove off. Soon spotted by lynx-eyed officers, he tried to outrace them, only to surrender a short time later.
The irony is, the youngster had been incarcerated IN the JAIL, not just visiting there. After serving his sentence and walking out a free man, he returned to crime. He had all of 35 minutes of freedom, and 30 minutes or more desperately fleeing re-arrest. Union-Tribune, 11/7/13.
Like that kid, we get spotless cleansing when we confess our sins through Jesus Christ I John 1:9. It gives us the chance to start all over in a new life, forgiven, separated from our past and its death-sentence. First thing we know, however, we’re right back at being a sinner, as if we just can’t wait to dirty up our life. The Master teaches us that forgiveness of sin offers the chance to start anew, not a new chance to revert to the old life