There I was sitting seven stories above the never-ending never-quieted traffic of the Cairo streets. The sun was going down and giving the vast city-scape it's traditional desert red tint and I begin to weep. We had only been in Cairo for 5 days, but one thing became clear - everything in this part of the world is against the spread of the Gospel from you and the life of Jesus in you. It literally feels like you're trapped in a small dome you can barely fit in and that dome is constantly being pushed in on you from every direction trying to crush the life God has put in you (or at least that's how it felt for me). But this temporary reality wasn't what broke me on that balcony as I talked with my Father. What broke me is that our love-life with God is even more threatened back home in the United States. How is that possibly?
It's like the younger and older sons in Jesus' parable as told in Luke. The younger son KNEW what he was doing, KNEW that his heart was far from his Father, and KNEW that the life around him was only decaying to his spirit. But as we all know, the older son did NOT KNOW his heart was far and did NOT KNOW that his life was decaying to his soul. One knew it and knew that throwing himself at his Father's feet was the only way he wouldn't die. The other thought he was at the Father's feet and having ongoing life, but he was wrong.
In Cairo I knew the world around me was pushing in me and seeking to crush the life of God in me. In a situation like that what else am I do then throw myself upon Jesus? How else would I survive if not seeking God with everything I have remembering His promise that He would give Himself to me if I did? The external pressure on my spiritual can only drive me closer to the One who can protect me and give me safe harbor. But what about here in the United States?
There is little if any external pressure on our spiritual lives. There's probably actually no pressure at all. Everything here is internal. The thing attacking our spiritual lives is our thoughts, our habits, our busyness, our idleness, our ease, our preferences, our attitudes, our American dreams, our spouses, and a plethora of other things. Yes they exist in the Arab World, but here they slowly eat away at the tears we cry for others till we have no tears left because we have no one on our minds to cry for. Our preferences blacken our hearts and make us me-centered because no one is fighting to kill our soul but instead infringing on what we like so we might as well fight back against that. When our souls and preferences are under blatant attack we will naturally fight for the more valuable fo the two. But when only our preferences are under blatant attack and our soul seems at ease why not fight back? Why not respond with disdain or annoyance in our heart? All the while these attacks on unimportant things and these good things fighting for our time are slowly suffocating the only important part of our lives and the greatest of things. Our tears run dry, our hearts grow cold, our tolerance of sin in thought, word, and deed grows, and our time is slowly given to average or even good things, but very little given to the ultimate things. Slowly we die; slowly we become someone God cannot us; slowly we look more like everyone else in the world; slowly the fire and fight for God and His Kingdom we once had dwindles away. What do we do?
Throw yourself upon Jesus. Get our knees against all the dry feelings of the heart and literally cry out to God. Move past the formal structure of prayer and cry out for Jesus. Seek Him with ALL of your heart and await the promise that you will have Him. It's HIS promise! Grab hold of God and DO NOT LET GO until He gives Himself to you!! Don't seek Him like a cheap set of earrings you can simply replace. Seek Him like something you wouldn't dare live without! Hold on to Him like your life depends on it because it does! Ask Him to meet you in your room, your car, your house, or wherever and continue to ask and seek until He does it! Do not let go until He comes. Do not let family, busyness, exhaustion, preferences, hobbies, comfort, coldness of heart, or idleness keep you from making God stand true to His promise in your life. Do not let go until He transforms you and it's evident to everyone that God Himself has shaped you again! Throw yourself upon Jesus!