The Narrow Road

Less than one percent of Japan's people know Jesus. Less than one percent. They are the least christian nation...on Earth! I cannot tell you how heavy that weighs on my heart, especially after meeting so many of them. I say that because I have never met people more kind, gracious or honorable than the Japanese. In fact, while there, I very much wrestled with God on that point. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that such humble and gentle people were in the category of least Christian. "How Lord?" I asked. Then, I continued wrestling with him when I considered the state of so many of us who claim to know him, and yet do not walk in humility or gentleness. It seems unfair. It seems plain wrong.

But then he answered me... 

"I am the way Shannon" he reminded me. I know this, of course, and I do my best to live it, but in the midst of so many lost people, who seemed so very christian on the outside, I wanted him to offer some kind of clause in the contract. I wanted there to be an exception for these wonderful people who treated me with such honor and respect. I wanted them saved. Part of me says it would be nice to be saved by my deeds, my accomplishments. Then, there is that part that sighs with relief because I don't have to work for my salvation, to be "good" for my eternal life. 

Our anthem for this trip was a song called "Narrow Road" by Hillsong United. You can guess from the title what it is about. For two weeks, we sang about this narrow road we have chosen, this truth we carry, this light in the darkness..this path to the Savior. The truth is simple. The road to Jesus is narrow, so narrow that the world's ideas of salvation and good are highways compared with the small path to Jesus. It's funny how such a simple truth can look so fuzzy sometimes. For me, I had that very fuzzy moment, in the middle of Japan, when I wanted Jesus to widen that path, to make room for what looked right, for these people who haven't found him, but have all the markings of knowing him. The truth is simple but I don't want it to be. I want to justify and argue my case, or someone else's. 

But then I picture the cross with my Savior on it... 

He is reduced to nothing more than a piece of flesh, hanging by three nails...and I remember just how much good I cannot find in myself. I remember that Jesus has paved the way, the one way, for ever single soul...and I remember to rejoice. You see, as much as I want to say that being good is enough, that having the character of Christ is enough without having him, I cannot...will not. The price he paid to pave that narrow road was too high for me to justify any other way. He IS the way. He IS the truth. He IS the life. No one will enter Heaven without him...and that breaks my heart. It breaks my heart for lost souls, seeking desperately salvation but not the one that can save them. The irony of this whole wrestling with God thing is that I came away more humble, more repentant than before. In my arrogance I wanted to tell my Savior how to save. I wanted to tell him that sometimes kindness and honor and respect should be enough. 


But that would make the path rather wide wouldn't it? 

This narrow road is paved with one way, and it will always be Jesus. He is the one light on that path. Forgive me Lord, for trying to widen it! I have come home from Japan more broken but even more certain of the path I walk. Jesus is the way! I believe God's heart breaks for the people of Japan. I believe he is seeking them out, just like he did me, and wanting them to find him. The beautiful thing about this narrow path is that there is room on it for anyone who will choose...for the people of Japan. 


So the challenge is simple. I want to live like I've been saved. I want my life to display the character of Christ. I don't want to trample his grace and mercy with my words and actions. I spent two weeks in the least christian country on Earth...and I have never seen people act more christian. How much more should I, who walks on that narrow road be displaying the heart of Christ? 


Indeed, I should and I pray I will. 


"I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." 
John 14:6

Comments

  1. Wow! That was really challenging and just plain good... I love you!

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  2. What an amazing word. Growing up in AZ, I was friends with many Mormans, that put Christians to shame, because as you put it, they have the character of Christ, but have never made the decision to accept his grace. With all my failings I know the grace of Christ better than most, but it takes a revolutionary decision to let him revolutionize our path.

    I'm so thankful that I serve a God who's Spirit, 'yearns jealously' after us. I know he continues to yearn after Japan, and breakthrough is coming.

    Big Brother

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