I was raised in a Christian home, but somewhere along the way I left the Christian faith. I wanted proof of God’s existence. I can remember asking him for a sign. I wanted him to rip open the sky, or at least give me a burning bush. Moses got a burning bush. He was in the desert. He saw fire. He heard the voice of God. I wanted that. I wanted proof.
After college I moved out of my parents’ home. For the most part I was done with church. I was lost, and by lost, I mean doomed—headed toward hell. What does that look like, you might ask? It might look like your neighbor, your co-worker, your children, your parents. We all know people who don’t know the Lord. We like to think that we don’t. That everyone is right with God. But that is not the case. Jesus said, “Narrow is the gate and few will find it!” This means we all know people who won’t be in heaven—people who are going to hell.
After several years of chasing the things of this world, I was left empty. Around that time, I began working for a company in sales, and it quickly became apparent that the owners were Christians. They weren’t trying to cram Jesus down my throat, but they tried to live out their faith. That shouldn’t have surprised me. That’s how it’s supposed to be! When we believe in Jesus, we are supposed to stand out. We are supposed to look different. Jesus calls his followers light!
This couple took that calling very seriously. They soon invited me to an introductory study on Christianity at their church. I declined. Having been raised in a church, I believed I knew all there was to know about Christianity. But they didn’t give up. Six months later they invited me again. I thought to myself, “I have to go, because they are not going to give up until I do.” So I went. I remember on the first night thinking, “I’ve heard all this before.” I wanted to quit, and I would have, but my employers were there. Every week, they were there. You see, they were on a mission. I had asked God for a burning bush… and he sent me two Christians instead.
About the third or fourth week of the study I remember realizing that I didn’t know all there was to know about Christianity. I didn’t know all there was to know about Jesus. And I remember being really challenged by this Jesus I was being introduced to. This was not the Jesus I remembered from Sunday School. This Jesus was real. He understood the world. He wept. He got angry. He grew tired, hungry, thirsty. He was real!
After the final study I was disappointed that the course was over. It had become something important to me. That night I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and opened my Bible. I read the words “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). In that moment, I believed it was true—true about me and true about Jesus. I was saved. And by saved, I mean redeemed—headed for eternity in the paradise of God. I got on my knees, but I wasn’t sure how to pray, so I simply said, “Thank you!”
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are challenged to be the light of the world, but it’s more than a challenge. As Moses stood in front of the burning bush, God said to him, “I’ve heard the cry of my people… and I’m going to do something… I’m going to send you” (see Exodus 3:7-10). God says the same thing to us today.
Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
You might be thinking, “Who am I—that I should go?” That’s the same question Moses asked. Hear God’s reply: “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). Now hear what Jesus says to us: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). But that was not enough for Moses. He pleaded with God, “I’m slow of speech and tongue… send someone else.” But God reminded him who it was who created his tongue (Exodus 4:11).
You see, this is more than a challenge. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. It’s what we were created to be. Believe, and become light! Because someone is looking for a burning bush. Someone is looking for a sign… and God is sending you.
Rev. Troy Tysdal is Director of Communications and Prayer for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren and serves as editor in chief of Faith & Fellowship magazine.