9:10 and I glanced at the door, wondering if he’s coming today. A few minutes later I look back and he stands there, looking lost and confused. When he notices me I smile and give him a wave as he proceeds to take a seat next to me.
I wept for this man last night. It was almost as if I could see straight into this man’s heart – the utter despair, desolation, and loneliness came over me and I wept bitterly because I knew it didn’t have to be this way for him. Luke 15* came alive last night and this morning and you can see the stains of my tears as I wept over this lost son. Half of me wept for joy at the celebration the Father will have for this man.
I had a vision last night. We’re going to hold a celebration for this man. When the Father reveals himself to this man he’s going to come with me to my home, the Father carrying him on His shoulders. I’ll open the door and everyone will be there. All who loved this man as Christ does will welcome him home and celebrate with the Father.
During the lecture I tell the angels that encircle the lecture room that this is the lost sheep who will be found. I bet they’re excited and I’m thankful God would use a nobody like me to do His work.
Ten minute break and I lean over and ask, “Patrick, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. Terence?” He knows my name. I’m glad he remembered.
The second lecture starts and I’m getting distracted by the guy in front of me to the right and the other guy to my right. One’s playing on his laptop, the other on his phone. I realize after awhile that the god of entertainment is having his way with these guys, and it’s getting to me too! I roar in my heart and tell the god of entertainment to go in Jesus name. No sooner did I finish my sentence when the phone guy stops, puts his phone back in his pocket, and the laptop in front of me runs out of batteries.
Wow. God is here!
Lunch time and Patrick takes his seat on a table of four. It’s a beautiful day and I’m content to observe from a distance. I watch them talking for 15 minutes and I wonder if anyone is actually listening or if everyone is just talking. I wonder if anyone cares about the well-being of this man the way I do; if anyone has ever asked him what he really feels.
Practical time and I notice something about Patrick. He will never dismiss anything you say. Most people, including myself, would be guilty of dismissing people with an ‘I don’t know’ or an agreement just to avoid conflict. I realize coming home now that this man listens acutely to what you say and doesn’t haphazardly choose his words. He makes me wonder whether any of us think before we speak like Patrick does.
The end of the day comes and I ask him how he likes Australia. He says he like the independence and he dreads going back home (to Scotland). I ask him whether the people over there are different.
“Well, the people here are . . . interesting. They’re . . . hmm. . .”
I smile and say nothing I’ll show you what people are like over here I thought to myself. The children of God all will. Then you’ll give me an answer. See you tomorrow Patrick. Get ready for day 3.
*Luke 15 is the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son:
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. – Luke 15:3-7
“Half of me wept for joy at the celebration the Father will have for this man.”
This is a wonderful thought. As I read over this entire journal for the first time, the one thing that struck me was the faith that Terence had in Christ. Not once does Terence use the language of a man unconvinced and hopeful, but instead uses the language of a man convinced and expectant, only wondering when God would achieve His goal. That is why I decided to name this post “A Man Convinced,” because I felt this was the point when Terence truly believed God’s call on him to love Patrick, and even though he isn’t quite sure what God is going to do with his obedience, he is convinced God is going to use Terence and the love he shows to achieve something great.
I also loved the moment of observance in this journal, when Terence is simply taking in all that is happening around him and Patrick, and realizes the qualities of Patrick that I don’t believe would have been noticed if it weren’t for the Holy Spirit helping and guiding Terence to love Patrick as Christ does. It’s amazing the things we’ll notice about people when we truly care about them and their well being, rather than only caring for people out of our own agendas and obligation.
Here’s a question I leave you with: Can we truly love someone as Christ loved them if we simply do so because Jesus told us to? Or must we first embrace that love which Jesus has shown us? Without understanding the love that Christ shows us can we truly love those around us out of anything except obligation?
We must strive to love out of Jesus’ command, but learn to love based Jesus’ actions and the example of that love He’s shown us in our lives, as well as in His word.