2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel.Romans 9:2-4a
A few years ago I wrote, “I don’t know if I would ever want to give up my salvation for the sake of others.” And to be honest, I still can’t say I do; however, I discovered I’m beginning to understand Paul better.
As I consider all the people I meet every day who don’t know Christ, I feel overwhelmed. So many wear faces that betray their upbeat talk. Waitresses attempting to look happy, cashiers smiling though their eyes tell a different story, lost people searching for an answer, an answer I possess. I want to share, to give them help and encouragement. But I know from experience, most won’t believe me if I tell them, “The hope you’re looking for is only found in Jesus Christ.”
Honestly, even those of us who know the answer spent years trying to do it on our own before we gave it all to Him. So it’s no wonder these folks, to whom Jesus is no more than a curse word or a picture on a Christmas card, find my story an eye-roller. Some listen politely, others are curious, but none are truly interested.
And my heart breaks.
It hasn’t always been that way. I once felt bad for them and knew it was my duty to share the gospel. I sincerely wanted others to know Christ; yet my heart escaped the hurt.
The closer I grow to Christ, the more I feel what He feels. His Spirit reveals the pain in others and gives me a burden for people I don’t know. I pass someone in the mall and I share their hurt.
I understand Paul’s great sorrow and unceasing anguish.
My heart’s desire is to help others become everything Christ created them to be, but the only way to get there is fully trust in Jesus. I absolutely love small groups and one on one mentoring because it’s in those places I see change and growth. These moments give me hope to continue. Without them I’m not certain I could face the crowds.
A life in Christ offers so much peace. I praise Him for all He continually brings me through. And as I grieve those who remain lost in this world, I eagerly await the next one who starts to ask questions, to seek truth and live in the love of the One who knows.