She stepped right off that bus and kept on going.
The rest of us shuffled off after the long drive and congregated silently on the sidewalk, awaiting further instructions. No one really knew each other so we generally avoided awkwardness by pretending to be busy getting our stuff together.
Not her. She pushed right past and flung her arms open into the cool October air.
But she could have.
Instead, I heard her say it and it stopped my self-obsessed heart right there: “It’s so beautiful! How could you see all this and not know God?”
That’s what she said.
It’s the first time I really noticed her. I mean really noticed, more than the passing glance and distant, friendly nod in our college history class. We’d spent a whole semester together and I think perhaps by the end I’d at least learned her name.
But here she was, declaring the glory of God in the mountains of Western Maryland as we spent a weekend at a leadership retreat for college students. She was bolder than I had been all year, didn’t care what anyone else thought, just threw herself into a declaration of faith and worship while everyone else looked on.
I didn’t know about her faith, didn’t know her heart at all.
Sometimes we think we know what’s inside the hearts of others. We think we can tell—-who knows God? Who doesn’t? Who is close to salvation? Who is “hopeless.”
But we can be wrong
God isn’t. He declares,
But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives (Jeremiah 17:10 NLT).
So, when we feel like giving up on someone and think no way will they ever believe in God, remember that only God knows. Maybe we stop that persevering prayer for their salvation because it just won’t ever happen, but maybe they are just one moment away from faith.
Or we think all this depends on us. Our words, our prayers, our testimonies make salvation happen.
But really, God is at work. He grants us this privilege to be part of His love for others, but it’s never all about us.
We just share our heart. We live out Christ. We love others like Him. And we pray.
We obey Him and trust Him with the rest.
And we can get all tangled up in worry over, ‘What about the people who never hear about Christ? How can a good God deny them heaven?”
But the truth is the same…It’s All About Him….and He is more than capable. He knows the hearts of every one of us, knows who is close to faith, who needs to hear the message, whose heart is made ready for the Gospel.
Rahab lived in that pagan town Jericho. No one would have expected her to be a God-follower, not a rescuer of Israelites or the one person in Jericho who was closest to salvation
She was a prostitute. Hopelessly lost, for sure.
Maybe that’s what any human would judge with all the external evidence we could muster against her.
But God knew her heart. He knew that of all the people in the city, she was the one person who heard the testimony of the miracles God had done and would think, ‘This is a God who I can trust to save me.”
That’s what she said in a whispered conversation with two Israelite spies she hid on her roof:
For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below (Joshua 2:11 NLT).
Who would’ve thought?
God, that’s who. He sent those spies straight to her door because He knew she would save them…..and He knew that He would save her.
He knocked down a seemingly impenetrable fortress of walls around Jericho, but kept her one lone house standing.
He moved heaven and earth to save a woman whose heart was ready for grace and faith.
This is our God with His heart to save, with His power to do the impossible and to share the Gospel with those who need to hear because He does not want “anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).
Lord, forgive us when we’ve given up praying for salvation for others. Help us to persevere in prayer.
Give us a heart for others and the boldness and compassion to share our testimony and display Your love and truth.
Remind us that only You can know what is in the heart of another. No one is ‘hopeless’ or so far from You that salvation is out of reach.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King