Saturday, March 16, 2013
Things Aren't Always As They Seem
Isn't it funny how people think they know something and they really don't. I had a lesson the other day. I was at the beach, and was in worship and praise and crying (which is what I normally do when I praise/worship) and a Muslim lady passed by and smiled and nodded, as she passed with a young man who seemed to be a son or nephew. I smiled and nodded to her in response and I had a feeling that each of us understood. We smiled and nodded in agreement with the process... having an understanding, because we both love God, and recognized in each other the desire to share our love with Him, and appreciated in each other the expression of that love. There were no word exchanged, but the understanding was immediate and appreciated by both of us.
A few minutes later, a Christian lady with a young girl walked by, back tracking a couple of times, and eventually came up to me and asked if I was ok. She said that she thought I looked a little sad and that they (she and the girl) had prayed for me. The lady was very kind with the best of intentions, but I had to explain that I wasn't sad. That it is quite normal for me to cry when I worship or praise God and that I had come to the beach to do just that. That she had witnessed my process of praise, and that it was good. I was actually experiencing joy and tears were of gratitude. When I said this, the woman looked a little puzzled, softly patted me on the shoulder and walked away, but I never got the impression that she fully understood what I was talking about.
This isn't the only time I've had this experience. I had a similar experience with a Hasidic Jewish lady while riding on the bus in Chicago. We were both praying, verying quietly, mouthing the words under our breath, without volume, when we suddenly looked at each other and realized we were not alone. We were doing the same thing … she mouthing the words from her little silver-clad prayer book and me, quietly praying in tongues. She in Hebrew and me in a language not even comprehensible by man, and yet we knew...and there was a moment of recognition and relief and joy.
We assume... and I've been guilty of this myself... that because people are of different faiths, that they don't know “the truth”, whatever we believe that truth happens to be. But I am finding more and more that God is so much bigger than anything we could imagine, and that those of us who love Him are connected by faith and by the Spirit... we know Him. It doesn't take a doctorate of Divinity, Homiletics or Hermeneutics to understand what we're doing when we pray... we become one body. The Spirit unites us and we sing His praises. We become apart of that “all the earth” spoken of in Psalms 97, rejoicing and declaring God's glory as we worship Abba Father.
Some may not yet know Him as Abba, and I'm not saying that “all roads lead to God” far from it, but for those of us who are His, our road is paved with praise. “We enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise” (Ps. 100:4).
Now I'm not saying that the Christian lady was somehow less faithful or less sincere, she wasn't. I'm actually glad she asked so that I could explain what I was doing, but she was in need of growth and many Christians are. We need to be able to better express our lack of knowledge, so that we can get a better understanding... of our own faith, and the faith of others in this world that we share. I learned something that day... well I think I already knew, but it was confirmed that day... that things aren't always as they seem, and that God's people are of every race, creed, color... and yes, religion and because we love Him, we should be able to find a way to love and understand one another.