Think of someone who is far from God. Pray for them. Believe that they could know Him. You will know that it is a miracle, if you pick someone who is far from God and they still manage to find Him. At least that is what they told me at the conferences of my youth, when I wrote the names on a piece of construction paper and wore a wooden cross on a leather cord around my neck.
I have a friend who qualifies as far from God. She uses all the words the church is afraid of to identify herself. And sometimes, the things she says about faith and freedom, about the state of our souls, it takes my breath away.
When we speak of spirituality (and she is more interested in it then most of my Christian friends) I don’t ever think of her as far from God. Sometimes I am sure He is speaking through her. The truth that she has spoken, about my self, about my dreams, it doesn’t feel like something from someone far from my God. It feels like something straight from His mouth.
Does that happen? Is that possible? Isn’t there a verse in that book of ours “With God all things are possible?” Does He speak in the tongues of atheists too? He does sometimes in my car, through my friend who is far from God, He speaks directly to my soul.
Last semester I ran out of gas three times in the span of two months. Every time with my friend in the car. The friend who is far from God. I suppose she could have told me the truth of the depths of my disorganization. She could have chided me for not doing better. It just isn’t that hard to make the choice to fill my car up with gas and not leave her stranded on the side of the road. She could have told me the truth about myself, about my faults, all the reasons it was hard to be my friend.
Instead she told me the truth in love. The first time it happened on the way home and she told me she didn’t have anywhere to go anyway. This really was only a very mild inconvenience. The second time she told me (as she walked with me to the gas station) that the day was beautiful, that she needed the walk, that we would make it to school in time. She gently reminded me not to overfill the gas can. I said of course and promptly spilled gas on my shoes. The third time she told me she was secretly glad to miss the meeting we were now missing, and then went inside and bought my coffee when we finally made it to the gas station to fill up. A week later she told me of the system her wife devised to ensure I didn’t run out of gas again.
I keep hearing about people who are far from God, and I suppose I know some of those people. But they don’t feel far from God. God is certainly not far from them.