At lunchtime, I took a walk to a local church in Queens that opens its sanctuary to the public. I’ve done this often since starting this job eight months ago. Yet, I’ve gone more often as I prepare for a short-term missions trip. Usually I’m alone in the sanctuary. A person, or two, will stop in at times. Also, many of the church’s staff passes through from time to time. But it’s usually just me. Not today!
When I got there, it was empty. I took my seat, second pew from the back, on the right, as I always do. I began to pray for a renewed clarity. What I am to do? What I am to focus on? What should be my overarching theme for the twenty three days I will be in Zimbabwe?
Then, a woman walked in. She looked Hispanic in appearance. She knelt down in one of the pews and began to pray in her native language. Then a man walked in. He appeared Indian to me. He went to the front, knelt at the altar, and prayed in his language as well. After him, a woman of Asian heritage entered. She too found a spot at the altar, knelt and prayed silently. Next, a black woman entered. She was dressed in a smart business pants suit. She went to the altar, and knelt to pray.
The moment was overwhelming. An image of all God’s people, bending a knee at His throne, filled my mind. Believers from every tribe and nation, bowing down before the King of kings; the scene was powerful. But then it dawned on me. Everyone in that sanctuary was bowing down to Jesus voluntarily. I was sobered by the truth that not everyone would, that some refuse.
Why do some find it so difficult to bow down before the Lord? I’m sure there are those who’ve yet to encounter the Lord’s amazing love and grace. For others, it may be because their lives have experienced struggles of a depth that make it hard to place their trust in God. And, for still others, it may simply be arrogance, and a refusal to bow down to anyone.
I was reminded that bowing down is not just about physical posture. As His people, we are called to bow not only our knees, but our lives to Him. We’re the ones who should demonstrate the blessing of yielding all our hopes, plans, and desires to the Master, and His will for us. Bending our knee to Him while yet refusing to bend our attitudes to Him, simply won’t work.
A verse from the book of Isaiah came to mind where the prophet tells us that one day “every knee shall bow” to Him (Isaiah 45:23 – NKJV). So many today defiantly refuse to submit to His Lordship. But they will one day. One day, every creature will bow down to the majesty and supreme wonder that is our beloved Creator!
For His people, it will be the completion of a circle, the fulfillment of a lifelong desire, to bow down in the Master’s presence and worship. In that day, the one word on our lips will be the one the angels now repeat at His throne … “glory, glory, glory.”
All others will bow too. With their eyes finally open, their hearts will no longer be able to keep them from correctly reacting to Him. They will cease giving in to the excuses of pride, and they WILL bow down, and worship Him. But for them, it will be the first time … and, unfortunately, the last time. For on that day, eternal destiny will have already been determined. In that moment, consequences will forever be connected to choices.
For these, they too may repeat a single word … why? “Why didn’t I see it? Why didn’t I listen? Why didn’t I bow my life to Jesus?” The greatest sadness about this question is that, then, the answer will no longer matter.
I left that lunchtime sanctuary with a renewed determination to spread His gospel, to carry His message of love and hope to all. I pray that as I do, that His Spirit will move in their hearts, and that they would choose to submit to Him, and bow down for the first time now … and not wait for that first time to be later.
(true story – happened on May, 29, 2012)
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