I am sitting in an apartment on the 8th floor – half way to the top. We border a major 6 lane expressway in the midst of a city of two million people. It is very early in the morning and already traffic is fairly heavy in both directions. It is a Sunday morning and I was expecting fewer people to be up and about both because of the early hour and the fact that it is Sunday. Here in this nation apparently it makes no difference what day of the week it is.
I have watched the traffic ebb and flow each morning now for almost a week. Each time the Lord has brought to mind that so many people are in such a hurry to go somewhere and do something because they think it is urgent and important. Yet, in light of eternity, they are simply keeping busy and often are occupied with things – thoughts and actions – that really have little meaning or importance in light of eternity. And, that most are not even thinking about life in any meaningful terms let alone life after death. They simply scurry about keeping busy while eternity looms on their horizon and they can enter into their eternal and forever destination at any moment. The way some people drive in this city it may be sooner than later.
The Lord has reminded me each morning how much he loves each and every one of these people – even if they do not believe that He exists. Many here in this former Communist nation do not believe that there really is a god. And, with this city being predominately young people – there is a whole generation who have no Christian reference point or church background. Regardless, Jesus came to die for each and every one of them.
Folks, I know we know that – but do we really KNOW that? Are we aware of what the Lord feels and thinks when He sees people living their lives in such an aimless manner and doing so without Him? I believe He has let me see a bit more of His heart in this regard than ever before as I have, each morning, watched from this 8th floor balcony.
I have been working with recovered and recovering drug addicts this past week. Hundreds of them. In fact, in the one church I have been relating to there are 75 leaders and about 400+ people – almost all recovered addicts. They really love the Lord and their worship is very upbeat, powerful, not rushed, and focused on redemption and transformation – the changes Jesus makes in a person’s life. I have watched them at work and at play. I have shared meals with them. I have joined them in prayer. I have worshipped and worshipped and worshipped – my how I have worshipped.
I have watched as they ministered to each other and then repeated I have had to move quietly around the corner of the room or the building to simply cry – actually weep before the Lord and thank Him for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful community of believers. Again, I cry as I write. These people really love one another and are connected – deeply connected to each other.
It has been a powerful week – and every day I have seen these wonderful people reach out to the lost and the dying – especially to those with addictions who are rejected, forgotten, and often invisible – the ones most churches don’t even see.
I came to minister to them and the Lord has used them in so many ways to powerfully minister to me. This has been a life-changing week… and there is still another week to come as I arrive today in the middle of Siberia.