Patience with Their Journey

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Life is a journey. God is patient.

As a young man C.S. Lewis abandoned his Christian beliefs and became an avowed atheist. His lifestyle was one that raised more than a few Christian’s eyebrows. They shook their heads, pronounced judgment, predicted his destination, and then added, “I will pray for him.”

What they didn’t know was his heart. They didn’t know his pain. They didn’t hear him pleading in the night for God to spare his mother from death. And when his mother died, in his pain he decided there was no God.

But life is a journey and God is patient.

The life-path of C.S. Lewis led him back to God and he became one of the greatest Christian apologists of our time.

There was a young man, Denny Ezell, who did not live the conventional life. He had a hard time fitting the mold society made for young men. As he struggled to fit into that mold and not being able to, he made a lot of bad decisions. These decisions affected his family and friends. His mother cried herself to sleep many nights. More than a few Christian’s eyebrows went to their hairline. They shook their heads, pronounced judgment and predicted his destination if he didn’t straighten up. Of course adding, “I will pray for him.”

What they didn’t know was Denny’s heart. They didn’t know his conversations with God. They didn’t know his struggle to be the man God created him to be.

But life is a journey and God is patient.

Denny’s wife and four children had moved to a tiny community in Louisiana. Denny joined them and in that little town he found God’s path. In the short time he lived there, he impacted the people of that small town with his love for God, people, and life.

Less than two weeks ago Denny died from a heat stroke.  He was only 32. But in his short life, his love for God and people triumphed over any bad choices he had ever made. At his funeral, the little church in his community burst at the seams with mourners. I attended his memorial in North Little Rock, expecting around 75 people give or take. There were 550 people. 550! You see, he loved others without judgment because he understood their pain. Denny could relate to their frustrations, disappointment, and struggles. He was a trophy of God’s love and grace.

Denny offered hope.

Why am I writing this? Because there may be someone in your life who has been consigned to the hottest part of hell because of the way they are currently living their lives. I know I do. And I suppose that is why I’m so sensitive to this. Even though the scriptures teach the opposite, it is so easy to put sin on a scale making one worse than the other and from that we shake our heads, pronounce judgment and predict the outcome, never forgetting to say we will pray.

But do we? Really?

Two of my sons made very insightful observations. Charles asked me once, “Aren’t you glad that God released us from the burden of judging others and instead told us to love them.”

I am glad. Very glad.

But Linda, you may be thinking, we are to expose sin. What I have to say about that is there is a fine line between judging and discerning. In judging the attitude is one of self-righteousness. In discernment, we are truly concerned, our hearts are heavy, our mercy is tender, and yes, we DO pray—earnestly.

My son Rob reminded me that we are on a journey in this life and it is up to God when He intersects that journey and sets us on His path. Pastor Dick King said, it is all about God’s love and His love story for us. We are all a part of God’s love story.

So remember, life is a journey and God is patient. May we grasp this truth and be patient with those we don’t understand, those who walk to the beat of a different drummer, or whose lives are offensive to us. And for those of us who have someone in our lives who are the cause of eyebrows arching, may we find hope in this truth.