test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Over the last couple of weeks the consistent theme I have been hearing revolves around our love or passion for Jesus -- or perhaps more accurately the question whether we really love him at all. It is a question that has echoed through the generations. Have we become, like the church in Ephesus, right in outward appearance but in reality far from God? Have we lost our first love?
For myself, for the first time in several months I have managed to find some quiet time. It is something I have been looking forward to. I have needed some time to recharge and just to think.
But, the quiet is a complicated place. In fact, it is often a place most of us go to great lengths to avoid; using television, the internet or just about anything else we can think of to keep from being alone with ourselves ... and God. The quiet often brings to light things that we really did not want to face about ourselves.
One of the things that has really hit me during this time of reflection is how much I have lost any zeal for life in the last two years. I have often thought during the last couple of years that if Jesus came tomorrow it would not be soon enough. As much as I love God, as much as I love my family, as much as I love the people God has put in my life and the calling He has for me, I have also been at best ambivalent about life itself. In large measure I have pushed forward out of responsibility -- knowing that my family needs me and that God is not finished with me just yet.
But then a couple of nights ago I had a dream that really surprised me. It surprised me first because I only remember a couple of dreams a year -- so when I do remember a dream it always surprises me. Even more than that, the content of the dream itself caught me off guard. I don't remember all of the details now, but what I do remember is that for some reason in the dream my life was in danger. And the thing that really struck me was that rather than being ambivalent about life -- as I have been most of the last two years -- I was desperate to cling to life. It was not that I was afraid of death -- I am not. It was that I knew that this is where I need to be.
As I have reflected on that dream, I think what I have learned is that if I truly love Jesus I need to appreciate the life He has given me and the opportunity he has given me to serve Him. I need to take advantage with joy of the opportunity I have to share the good news -- the Gospel -- with others. I need to want to be here because of love -- and not just out of a sense of responsibility.