In the 33 years since I was first ambushed by Jesus, in the literally thousands of hours of prayer and meditation, silence and solitude in those years, I am now utterly convinced that on judgement day the Lord Jesus will ask one question and only one question:

“Did you believe that I loved you?  That I desired you?  That I waited for you day after day, that I longed to hear the sound of your voice?”

The real believers will respond and say “I believed in your love.  And I tried to shape my life as a response to it.”  But may of us who are so faithful in our ministry and our practice and churchgoing are going to answer: “Well, frankly, no sir.  I never really believed it.”

And there is the difference between the real believers and the nominal Christians that abound in our churches across the land.  No one can measure like a believer the depth and intensity of God’s love.  But then again, no one can measure like a believer the effectiveness of our gloom, our pessimism, our low self esteem, our self hatred and despair that block God’s way to us.  Do you see now why it’s so important to lay hold of this basic truth of our faith?  Because you’re only going to be as big as your own concept of God.  We make God in our own image and he winds up being as fussy and as rude, as narrow minded, judgemental and legalistic and unloving and unforgiving as we are.  I’ve been in churches [all over the United States] and honest to God so many Christian’s [God] is too small for me.  Because He is NOT the God of the word, he is NOT the God who is revealed in and by Jesus Christ, who at this moment comes to your seat and says “I have a word for you.  I know your whole life’s story.  I know every skeleton in your closet.  I know every moment of sin and shame, dishonesty and degraded love that’s darkened your past.  Right now I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, and my word to you is this:

I dare you to trust that I love you.  Just as you are.  Not as you should be.” 

Because none of us are as we should be.

– Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin



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