Last night I went to see an 80's cover band with some friends. We laughed about the 80's styles...side pony tails, ultra bright clothes, pink blush...we figured it would be a fun evening walking down memory lane.
The band was really good and played a lot of old favorites...has it really been more than 20 years since I graduated from High School?? I don't feel old enough for that much time to have passed!
I've been thinking lately how I'll be 40 this year, and in some ways it seems like my 30's escaped me. Most of the past decade (wow! that's a long time!) was spent enduring some really painful times, and then coming through them and finding out who I really am, finally finding victory that comes only through Christ Jesus. I am excited to be turning 40 - it seems like a time of maturity and wisdom, having learned from the follies of my youth. I feel very content with life right now, and incredibly blessed. I think this is a part of what comes with age, and I'm grateful for it. Now, lets not get all crazy and start thinking I'm all happy and excited about these wrinkles I see gathering around my eyes and on my forehead!! Aack...I thought I'd handle that much more gracefully, but I find myself scouring lotion labels for some great cure to my lines! Haha...but, I digress...
Back at the concert, my friends and I were having fun re-telling old High School stories and laughing about how it seemed like we were re-living our "glory days" when in fact, they didn't seem all that glorious at the time! We were definitely feeling middle-aged, but in a good way.
Part of the fun of these kinds of events, of course, is the people watching. Several people came all decked out in their 80's gear...headbands, bright pink shirts, stripes, leggings, those awesome side pony tails (ok - I admit it, I almost wore mine in a side pony tail...) - and don't forget the Rayban Wayfarers! Oh yeah - and big bangs - really, really big bangs! The styles of that era were such a tragedy.
While we were watching people, I began to sense a hopelessness in those around me. Middle-aged men and women were drinking themselves into oblivion, acting like absolute fools. As I watched them, my heart began to break. How many of these people stumbling around had children at home? What did they think they were doing? So many were bowing down to the god of this world - to the god of drunkenness and lust. I found myself interceding for them and crying out for them in my heart. What must God think of this? I know His heart was broken.
A part of me wanted to flee from there - but then I felt like God was using this as an opportunity for me to see what is happening in the world around me - a world that is crying out for the grace, love and freedom that God is offering. I feel that in some ways, I've been so sheltered - praise God! - but that He also is saying that we need to be IN the world, for our hearts to be broken like His is broken by the sin of the very people He created to be in relationship with Him. There is such deception all around us, and how can we bring the love of Jesus if we don't go?
I love the verse that talks about "how will they know if they do not hear, and how will they hear if no one goes?"...it just reaffirms to me this place God has me in...I want to go, and to be His hands and feet and heart. I am so grateful that I am able to do this, and I feel so blessed and humbled that I get to! I think I am the luckiest girl on earth!
Normally when I find myself in a situation where there is wanton sin happening (that sounds as though I am often in these situations - but I'm not!! Thank you Jesus!), I am riddled by guilt and shame - but not this time. I feel a passion to pray for my generation like never before. There was a woman next to me that I feel particularly burdened to pray for - a woman who has found her identity in the sum of her parts. I wanted to say to her "You are so valuable! You are worth so much more than the parts of your body - you have been created with value and worth!" After the concert, I waited around awhile, trying to find her so I could give her this message. I was sad when I didn't catch her, and the opportunity passed by. I find myself thinking of her, and praying that God would reach her.
It can be very easy to stay in our little Christian world - it's safe and comfortable and we can keep ourselves worried about whether or not tongues is for today's church, or spend lots of time discussing the merits of tithing on net versus gross - and all the while an entire world of people, precious and valuable people, are dying right outside of our doors. How will they hear if no one tells them? Who will tell them if no one goes?
God help us all.