So I'm sitting in church tonight, and I had two specific people on my mind that I know need Jesus. One might be saved, the other definitely isn't, but thinks he/she is. I started worship time really just pouring my heart to God. I was looking for a flood. I begged for the spirit. I hungered for it. I was seeking God out. And, to be completely honest, it's very rare that I whole-heartedly and honestly focus enough during worship time to actually seek out God's presence and receive it. But tonight was one of those nights. And it was amazing. Anyway, there came a point during worship time where Pastor Robbie got up and gave an invitation to accept Christ. While he was speaking and extending the invitation, these two people laid heavy on my heart and I began to pray. I begged God with everything I had to save them tonight. I begged Him to raise their hands for them. To be honest, I was almost in a 'Calvinistic' mindset - just in the head direction that God had the power to save them. It was almost as if they didn't have a choice, that He could do it because He had the ability to. Honestly, Calvinism became convenient. It became easy, because I knew that if it were true, it didn't matter what these two people wanted to do - God could save them. It was God making the decision, not them. And I was suddenly assured and confident. I [thought I] knew that because the decision was not based on their own choice but God's, everything was fine. I believed for a split second everything I've been against, only because it was convenient and comfortable in that time frame of begging for the salvation of these two precious people. I begged God to save them. This is what I said;
"God, I know you can save them. Raise their hands right now, Father. Bring them to glory. Soften their hearts. Make them aware of their need for you. I beg you spirit come in and let them receive you tonight. I pray that they will raise their hands, God. I know you can do it. I know you're powerful enough to save them. I know you can, God. Do it now!"
I repeated this over and over again. I just prayed, non stop the entire time Pastor Robbie spoke before giving the actual invitation. I pleaded, I begged. And I knew God had the power to save them. I knew it was not impossible for Him. And I just felt like it was going to happen tonight.
I guess you can imagine my disappointment when their hands did not raise high into the air when the invitation to raise your hands if you made a decision was extended. I kept praying. I kept asking. Yet, they did not come to grace tonight. They remained silent and decision-less.
And then Father spoke;
"Kristi, it's their decision, not mine. I'm able to save, but they must first be willing. I want it too, my child."
Wow. There goes THAT convenience. God spoke. He literally told me that they had a choice.
Call that convenience on my side if you will. Call that hearing what I want to hear. I don't care. It's funny, though...I prayed on the way to work today for me to be so close with Father that I would know His voice when I heard it. That was my prayer this morning; "Father, help me to hear your voice and know it's you". He spoke. I heard. And I knew.
We then sat down. And the sermon seemed PERFECT for them. I was praying for them the entire time, hoping that what he was saying would penetrate their hearts. Yet they kept getting distracted.They weren't paying attention. It was driving me crazy! I wanted to shake them and make them listen! And then He spoke again;
"I wish they would listen, too. I want them to know me. But they're allowing themselves to be distracted. They're allowing their hearts to remain hardened. And, though I can change that, I won't. I have the power and ability to turn their hearts towards me, but I've left that up to them. My heart is breaking right with yours"
I felt like, in that moment, my heart became one with Father's, and it broke. The only reason I was hurt for them, the only reason my heart completely broke for them, was because I felt Father's breaking too. I literally felt God inside me, yearning for their salvation, desperately wanting to be with them. For that moment in time, I feel like I really had the heart of Father. The heart that wills that no man perish. The heart that loves all men. I had the heart that broke when His creation refused to come to Him. I can't tell you how close I was to running on stage, grabbing the mic from Pastor Robbie, and getting on my knees to plead with people to repent, to come to Christ. I felt like any moment my body would rush up on stage to beg of everyone in that room, especially the two on my heart, to receive grace. Satan doesn't give those desires. I would never want to do something like that in my flesh. There really only leaves one other option.
I can honestly and confidently tell all of you that I was not soaking in the presence of a Calvinistic God. Again, I'm not refuting it. I'm really not. But last night, as I sat there, God was revealing to me His heart. He was showing me how it felt when His own Creation rejected Him. He wasn't full of wrath (though God's wrath IS upon the ungodly). He wasn't full of hatred. He loved them so dearly. He had them so close to His heart. His love is not conditional. His love is not partial. His love is perfect. And His only desire is to pour that love upon anyone and every one that will come. I want to let every person reading this know that God loves you so much. He cares for you. He adores you. He desires you. And I don't care who you are or where you are. I don't care if you're saved or unsaved. He loves you no less than He loves anybody else. And He was willing to give up everything just so that you would be with Him. He didn't give up everything for only a specific amount of people. No, He gave Himself up for the entire world (John 3:16) and that includes you.
Daily I become even stronger in what I believe about Salvation.
"My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me."