Building lives on solid ground

Manhattan

By: Mary Larson, Converge missionary

When I travel to New York City, I look forward to seeing the Manhattan skyline, especially from the Whitestone Bridge. It is remarkable to see the skyscrapers rising up in a majestic formation; a formation certainly differing from natural, majestic scenes, but awe inspiring nonetheless. What makes it more amazing is that as one looks at other buildings close to the bridge and the river, there are only smaller-storied structures and no great groupings such as seen on Manhattan. The contrast is striking and, if you are not aware, there is a simple reason for it. Below Manhattan Island are three strata of bedrock which make building skyscrapers possible. Not so for the surrounding land masses.

Seeing Manhattan from afar, and the contrast around it, never fail to remind me of the biblical account of the wise man building his house upon a rock and the foolish man building on sand. The analogy also fits when you are in Manhattan and see the teeming numbers of people on the streets from every imaginable ethnicity. Everyone is so busy, hurrying here and there. Yet I always wonder, even as they ride and walk with bedrock beneath their feet, how many of them have built their lives on the solid rock?

Seeing the myriads of people in NYC also reminds me of the urgency of missions. There is something about seeing these large throngs of people together that brings home, so clearly, the big picture of the world's need for the gospel. Within the throngs are the faces of individuals, and in those faces comes even a greater sense of the urgency to reach those who are apart from the love of our great God and Savior. These are people whose lives hang in the balance until they come to know the redemptive work of Christ for themselves. These are people, like their counterparts around the world, who need to be on the solid rock.

I encountered the same emphasis in an article by Dr. Nabeel Quresh, a former Muslim who wrote the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. Dr. Quresh recounts the most agonizing experience of his life: When his parents rejected him because of his conversion. As he wept uncontrollable tears he cried out, "Why, God, why?" The article recounts the answer he received. "Something happened that was beyond my theology and was as if God picked up a megaphone and spoke through my conscience. I heard these words resonate through my very being: 'Because this is not about you.' The tears, the shaking ― everything stopped. For about ten minutes I sat unable to move. He was rebooting me. While I was wallowing in self-pity there was a whole world out there with billions of people who have no idea who God is, how amazing he is, and the wonders he has done for us."

This quote became another reminder to my heart to continually check the complacency that can and does creep into my life although I have the words of life so desperately needed by others. I know this is not about doing so much that I become ineffective in what I do. It is about not becoming so preoccupied with my life that I fail to respond as the spirit gives me opportunity.

While I am safe on the rock, I want to remember the urgency ― an urgency to reach those within my sphere of influence so that they will know the power of the gospel in this life and for eternity.

In Christ alone my hope is found.

He is my light, my strength, my song

This cornerstone, this solid ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

Natalie Grant, Lyrics, In Christ Alone

    Point - Fall 2017

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