READ: Psalm 82, Hosea 11, Luke 10, 2 Corinthians 1

HEART CHURNS

God invites, actually He insists, that we join Him in His agony over those who are lost. Hosea 11 reveals the heart of a tender Heavenly Father who “draws with gentle chords” and “stoops to feed” (v. 4). This Father, knowing that His errant children deserve banishment and exile, pleads with Himself: “How can I give them up? My heart churns within me; My sympathy is stirred” (v. 8). When was the last time your heart churned because someone did not know Jesus.

When I first started working among unreached people, I could not get away from the fact that everyone I saw was going to hell. I was a young man in Mauritania–the end of the earth–a country that was and is 99.99 percent Muslim, and I emotionally entered into the anguished passion God feels for His lost loved ones. I prayed four hours a day; I wandered the streets weeping; I lost weight; and an intensity descended on my soul as my heart churned within me. As time went on, my little human soul could not carry the weight of what I felt. I could not bear the emotional toll of so much lostness, and so I compensated by gradually ceasing to be moved at all. Not designed to bear the weight of the world, I coped by developing soul callouses over those that perish.

Neither extreme honors the Heavenly Father. We are not God and do not have the capacity to absorb the cost of humanity’s truancy. We do however bear the divine image and God wants us to taste a little bit of His suffering for those who are lost. We should never get used to a Muslim funeral. When we stand over the graves of those who have gone to a Christ-less eternity, something should pull our insides apart and wrench deeply in our guts. If we cannot mourn for the world, let us at least dump some ashes on our head for our neighbors. We should not fabricate emotion; we should ask God to share with us a little of His. Let us not reduce God to a robot who does not feel the consequences of His own justice. Our emotions are sourced in God. God is passionate, capable of the highest joy and the deepest sorrow. To know Him is to share His passions, and how dare we think we know Him when we have become clinical in the face of men and women dying without Jesus.

The Father’s heart is so tender. He “will not come with terror” (v. 9). He will call sons and daughters “out of Egypt” (v. 1) and “His sons shall come trembling from the West. They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt” (vv. 10-11). God asks us to let His lost ones knows how terrible He feels at their disobedience. Luke 10:16 astoundingly reminds us that the lost “who hears you hears me.” Can those who do not know Jesus hear the Father tearfully pleading through us?

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