Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Welcome Party Crasher

Jesus doesn’t wait for invitations

World magazine editor Marvin Olasky began his editorial this way:

Party game: If you could have any dinner guest you wanted, who would you invite? George Washington? George W. Bush? Noah? Bob Marley?

Olasky suggested that Jesus would be the guest worth having, the only possible choice who could bring true life to the party-goers. He highlights his own journey from Marxism, atheism and Judaism into the heart of Christ. Really, the article was more about Christ Himself, who pursued Olasky with a tender tenacity. In his final paragraph, he returns to the party game scenario:

So, my initial questions about which party guest you’d want to invite is in one sense irrelevant. Jesus doesn’t wait for invitations. Whenever he chooses to come, He crashes the party.

The image of “Jesus as party crasher” makes me smile, because that’s exactly how Jesus entered my life nearly 30 years ago. My labels then were not Marxist or atheist; they were terms like party girl and radical feminist. My attitude was “do as you please, and don’t think about the rest.” My hard-as-nails philosophy hid a soft and sorrowing heart.

As I partied my life away, Jesus was working in the wings, hidden to my earthbound eyes. When I attended a weekend retreat with a boyfriend, Christ made His decisive move. He picked me up out of my pit and set me down on Solid Rock - facing a light I did not yet recognize, but could not pull my eyes away from.

I honestly didn’t know what had happened to me at first. I knew I couldn’t be with that boyfriend anymore, and that my conscience kept pricking me about things I’d done for years. I had a powerful sense of God’s presence, His voice in me, in a way that I did not yet have the words or knowledge to explain. I was driven to read – no devour – God’s Word, which had come intensely alive that weekend. I knew I was different: I wanted God more than I’d ever wanted anything or anyone. I was filled with unfamiliar hope and unexpected happiness.

I did not pray a sinner’s prayer that weekend. I did not recognize my sin for what it was. I did not ask Jesus into my heart. Instead, Jesus entered my heart of His own volition, and began to reveal Himself to me in such compelling ways that I fell head over heels for Him. As I pored over the Bible in the following weeks and months, just wanting to know more of Him, I discovered what God had done: He had saved me from my sin and welcomed me into His family. (See Ephesians 2:1-5, Romans 6:20-22.)

Never has a party crasher been more welcome!  All these years later, I still marvel that He came when I wasn’t looking, and that He gave me what I didn’t know I needed: Himself. 

(NOTE: I wrote this in 2002, but it is still true today! Unfortunately, Olasky’s article is no longer available on World magazine’s website.)