I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days over the weekend at the SENT conference in Houston. I listened to so many speakers talking about people around the world who have never heard of Jesus. It reminded me all over again of God's heart for the nation.
I still remember the first time I totally grasped the importance of reaching the nations. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before, but it's worth a repeat.
A couple of year ago at Christmas, I was sitting in a small church in Mexico. It was cold, mostly because they left the door open to the street so that people would be able to hear the worship service and might be enticed to come in as they pass by. It was packed....as in standing room only. And we sang together, the congregation in Spanish, and the mission team in English. I didn't have a clue what they were saying, but worship is a universal language.
As I watched, I became overwhelmed by God's heart for the nations. You see, thousands and thousands of years ago, God confused the languages at the tower of Babel. Since that time there are literally thousands of languages that have never been used to worship God, because they have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ. In God's throne room, he can hear praises lifted up to him around the world. I'm sure it's a beautiful chaotic symphony of praises in different languages....German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, English, Afrikans.......But I have to believe that there's a bit of sadness for the languages that are missing. That cannot praise because they do not know. That's when I get overwhelmed with emotion. What would it be like to live your entire life and never have the opportunity to worship God?
The SENT conference reminded me of all the people who need to hear. And the urgency to get the message out. I regret that life distracts me from being completely sold out to God's agenda. There has to be a way to do more for kingdom purposes. There has to be a better way to balance all the stuff in my life so that God's mission can be a bigger priority. Praying about that!
I will confess that I skipped a session, snuck into the auditorium, and played on the Steinway for a bit. It's probably been about 20 years since I last touched a Steinway. The night before, I laid awake in part due to drinking lots of coffee but also because the music of my thoughts was too loud to let me sleep. I was desperate to get it out. I don't know when it all started, but my thoughts, emotions and memories tend to be accompanied by strange and haunting melodies. Usually not songs that have been written yet....songs that belong only to me. Yeah, know that sounds a bit weird....but that also explains why sometimes my English is so garbled. It can be challenging for me to find words buried under the music. And so when I am feeling deep emotions that I want to talk to God about, I have to play it on the piano.
My head was so full of hurt for the nations and spinning with conviction about my lack of involvement due to my fear - not for my safety - but of the unknown, and my busy crazy life that keeps me from being able to put in the hours of ministry that I would like. I spent a long time pouring all that hurt and frustration out on the piano, along with a bit of confession about the sin in my life that distances me from God and keeps me from feeling worthy to be a part of his big plans in the world. I am having an intensely profound and personal moment as God is in return pouring out His love on me. He reassured me of his plans to do big things, and to let me tag along. He spoke to me about waiting for his timing. Being patient with my life where I am and sitting back and watching him do the impossible. It was a beautiful moment. One of the most incredible 30 minutes that I've spent with God in a long time.
Most of the time, I was totally alone in the auditorium. Occasionally someone passed through, and there were sounds of people working on stuff backstage. But mostly they went away. When I was done, cheering erupted from the balcony. My husband and a couple of friends had slipped in to listen. Because of the intimate nature of the stuff I was pouring out to God, it felt like one of those dreams where you show up at work and forgot to get dressed first! However, it is good to have balcony friends. Those people who cheer you on. I love the crossroadies! If I had to have an audience, can't think of anybody I would have rather had listening in.