I've prayed hard about exactly how and when to post this. I don't in anyway want this to come across as judgmental or sound as though I think I'm better than anyone else, because goodness knows I have been and still am the chiefest of sinners; the only difference is that I've chosen to cross the dividing line. So, I'm praying right now as I type that the Holy Spirit will move through these fingers of mine and speak to all of our hearts the message He desires for us to hear.
Several weeks back my mom, kiddos, and I made a trip to Florida to visit with family. It's been about 20 years since I've actually lived in Florida close to my extended family. We left when I was in the 5th grade so that my dad could attend Bible college and live out the calling God had placed on his life and the life of our family. We were by no means the perfect family. We had our struggles like every family does, but there was never any doubt in our home that God was first.
I've had my own personal struggles, seasons of rebellion, and pits of sin that I lived through myself. If you've read my story you know that the Lord has delivered me and restored me to Himself. Like my immediate family, my extended family has had it's own set of struggles, challenges, hurts, and pains.
On Sunday everyone was planning on getting together to have lunch and visit. Saturday night I found out that a cousin who I've always been close to was in the midst of dealing with a "situation". This cousin and I have always been very open and honest with each other. A couple of years ago we had a conversation that involved me having to apologize for not being a godly example for so many years, sharing what the Lord had done to heal my heart and marriage, and then sharing with this cousin the love of Jesus. My cousin's response, "I'm not ready to give up what I'm doing. I'm not ready to let it go. You and I are different. We don't see things the same way." I have prayed for this cousin for years- for their salvation, protection, and healing. When I found out the situation this cousin was in my heart was broken. "I just don't understand Lord," I prayed that night as I went to bed. As I drifted off to sleep that night the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, "it's all about choices and whether or not you are willing to cross over the line that divides."
I woke early the next morning and lay in bed with this burden still heavy on my heart. The Lord brought to mind Abraham and his journey to the receive the blessings God had promised him. Abraham had the choice. He could choose to leave his homeland, his family, his life, everything that was the norm for him and literally cross over the river to the promised blessings that awaited him or he could choose not to and continue living in the mediocre, hum-drum life that was comfortable to him. His choice- cross over the line that divided the blessings from the mediocre and receive God's blessings even though he wasn't sure about anything that was to come.
My mom and I went to worship at a local church that morning. Can I just say that it was a much needed refueling for my soul! God used that pastor to reiterate to me what He had spoken to my heart earlier that morning. His message was about Noah and his choice to cross over that line that divided those who were living immoral lives and the family of Noah who had chosen to follow God. I began praying right then and there that the Lord would open the door for me to have a conversation with my cousin once again sharing with them how much God loves them and desires to have a relationship with them.
God opened that door through a question posed to me by my cousin, "why do you home school your kids?" My response, "Well, first of all, God told us to. And because we want to instill in our kids Biblical principals and guide them in growing in their relationship with the Lord." I went on to say, "It's about them being armed and ready to go out into the world, so that when they are faced with the things that you and I were faced with, hopefully they will make a much wiser decision; a decision that is based on the Truth of God's Word."
We talked for a while and I poured out my heart about how much God loved them and was there for them. It began raining as we talked and I believe it was the heart of God breaking as my cousin said, "God. He's not for me. I can't let go of what I'm doing. I just can't do it."
What do you do? What do you say? It was very clear to me that day that a dividing line had been drawn in the sand between the two of us. I was on one side, my cousin on the other. Choices had been made. One choosing to follow Christ, while the other chose to hold on to the things of this world.
In Matthew 8:18-22 a scribe came to Christ wanting to follow Him. The scribe was unable to follow Christ because he was not willing to leave behind his family and an inheritance that was to come.
"23)And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me,
let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own
interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me
[cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need
be, in dying also]. 24) For whoever would preserve his life and save it
will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he will
preserve and save it [from the penalty of eternal death]. 25) For what does
it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and ruins or forfeits (loses)
himself? 26) Because whoever is ashamed of Me and of My teachings, of him
will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in the [threefold] glory (the
splendor and majesty) of Himself and of the Father and of the holy
angels."Luke 9:23-26, Amplified Bible
There is no profit in clinging to the world. Only in Christ does one find peace, contentment, and joy. Only in Christ is true happiness. Only in Christ is true love and acceptance. Only in Christ is eternal life; without Him life is meaningless.
I will continue to pray for my cousin. I'm praying specifically that they will have an undeniable encounter with the God of the universe. I'm praying that Jesus will shower down upon them grace and mercy. I'm praying that brokenness will come. I'm praying that there will no longer be a dividing line between the two of us but that one day soon we will be fighting the same fight.
I'm sure you have those in your life who you are praying for for their salvation. Let us not grow weary, for in His time the harvest will come.