It's early morning and I am sitting here in the dark listening to the sound of crickets. I think it's going to rain today... and again, all day tomorrow. There is so much I want to say and I'm struggling to figure out how to say it. In the end, it's really not about me anyway.
When I was 5, my parents started attending a tiny, little Baptist church just a few blocks from where we lived. Of course, I went with them but I remember very little about it, other than that there was a sweet man who always greeted me at the door with a smile that lit up his face. He would put his hand on the top of my head and utter a blessing before I entered the building. All I knew inside of me at the time, was that he felt peaceful, in a way that made a little girl look up and sigh from the depths of her.
Eventually, we moved on to a larger church. Our family was growing and our needs were changing. I remember thinking that Dr. Borror (pronounced BORE) was about the worst name a preacher could ever have, but as it turned out, he was anything but boring. It was in that sanctuary, listening to him talk, where I first learned of a loving, living God in a way that actually changed my heart. When I was eleven, I attended a summer camp at Lake Tahoe and it was there that I recognized my need for a Savior and I gave my heart to Him. Though I have spent many years wandering from my faith, seeking to fill the void inside of me with anything but the love of God, He has always been faithful. And He kept calling, until He brought me to my knees this summer in anguish, and I had no other choice but to answer.
I personally believe God is speaking to all of us today. He's speaking to us in drought, in fire, in flood. He's speaking to us in rainbows over NYC and in rain, wind and lightning that roar over a Mosque in Mecca. He is speaking in a sandstorm that rages over Israel and the Middle East. And that's just this week! He is speaking in the eyes of children fleeing Syria. He is speaking in famine, in pestilence, in earthquakes and tsunamis. When, when will we hear Him? When will we realize that God is not mocked? Why did it take me so long?
Long before this... He spoke gently, in the brilliant pink light of a sunrise, in the whisper of leaves on the trees, in the babbling of a brook hidden in the mountains, in the petals of a flower. See... even if we never speak His name to anyone... the stones will cry out.
Revival may come to this nation but I think it will come on the heels of a great shaking. And I suppose in many ways, I believe it will never come, unless it begins in our own hearts first and then... in our homes. I shared once here, that I used to fall asleep at night listening to my dad sing praises to the God he gave His heart to in that tiny little Baptist Church, some 45 years ago, in a closet he turned into his prayer closet. I never told you that I also listened, as He cried out in anguish over the loss of his family to divorce and brokenness. As he repented of his sin and asked God to forgive him. As the tears poured from him in humble recognition that Someone far greater than he, still had everything under control. Even when things seemed impossibly bleak and dreary.
As I write, I am watching the darkness of night, turn to the brilliant light of a new day... and I have hope. Hope that God is still in control. That He is still patiently waiting for us to respond to Him. Hope that He can redeem any and every heart, including and most especially my own and that of my children, my family, and my beloved friends... you.
I don't think there is time for religious rhetoric anymore. It was never about religion ever. We made it that way... not God. With God, it's not about perfection. It's not about performance. It's not about getting it right in our own strength, at all. We can't. There isn't a thing we can do to earn it. If we could, it would negate everything Jesus did on that cross. No! It's about grace, and mercy and forgiveness and it's about humility... a heart so broken by the Love that paid the price for sin... that it softens and it changes. It has an impact. Not just on us... but on the world.
It is time we exchange religion for relationship and rhetoric with the eloquence of ancient truth. Before it's too late.