by KP Yohannan
When Jesus walked on this earth, He was deeply moved by the lostness and suffering of humanity. His heart ached over the harvest fields that were about to perish. He wept over Jerusalem and a nation that had rejected their Messiah. He knew what was waiting for them, and it broke His heart.
We cannot be disciples of Christ and live like Jesus lived unless we too have a broken heart and tears to weep over the lost world.
I remember well, how often I stood on the streets of northern India where I preached the Gospel for eight years, looking at the lost multitudes, unable to control my tears.
That was before I came to the United States, and before I wanted to become like everyone else.
I was studying in seminary, pastoring a church and doing well. Two or three years went by, and I found I couldn’t cry anymore. No, I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I was busy preaching and teaching, and people thought I was spiritual.
However, without my being aware of it, the affections of my heart had shifted from being consumed with reaching dying souls to desiring material things. I found myself buying expensive clothing, books for my growing library, watches, a stereo system and other things to feed my new appetite. At the same time, I was committed to conservative faith, and I memorized wonderful prayers by Peter Marshall and others to include with my preaching, and people liked it. But on the inside I was dying. Even the Bible had become just a tool for me to prepare my sermons.
There I was, asking myself, “How can something like this happen to someone like me?”
I had known God so intimately, He had talked to me and I heard Him, but now I could not find Him.
It was time for me to make a decision about what to do with my life. I didn’t see any sense to continue in ministry because my heart was dead.
As a last attempt, I said to myself, “I will talk to the Lord and see if He will talk back to me.”
I went into my study, sat on the floor and simply prayed: “Jesus, I don’t know what to do. I know so much and everybody thinks I am a spiritual person, but I am so lost. I don’t know where You are, and I can’t find You. Please talk to me.” And He did. At the end of seeking Him for two weeks, the Lord showed up. I can’t explain how, but within a few seconds, millions of pictures began to flash before my eyes: faces, images and places I had been to on the mission field. And then He said, “I have been waiting for this day when you would come to the end of yourself. I have called you. I know you.”
I expected the Lord to say, “You messed up. Sell everything, go back to India and wear rags.” But He didn’t.
Instead, I was so overcome with the awareness that He loves me, He understands me and He wants me.
I wasn’t able to stop crying. For weeks I couldn’t think of anything else than just being His. I was so overwhelmed by His love that He could have asked me anything outrageous, and I would have done it.
I believe God, in His mercy, allowed me to take this journey so the ministry He wanted me to do was born out of love for Him. One outcome of this encounter with the Lord was that I looked at the possessions I had accumulated for myself, and I started giving them away. They had lost their pull on my heart.
Another was that my heart was once again aching for the lost world, and I could pray and weep for the multitudes who were dying without Jesus.
My dear friend, you may feel spiritual in a crowd on Sunday morning, but following the Lord is intensely personal. You cannot borrow this life from someone else, nor can you get it by imitating the actions of others. You see, my giving away material things and praying with tears for the lost had nothing to do with attempting to act like Jesus. It was the result of being overcome by His love for me and falling in love with Him.
The apostle John wrote, “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NASB).
I don’t know where you are in following the Lord, but if your heart is unmoved by the things that break Jesus’ heart and your eyes are dry, then I urge you to seek Him and wait in His presence until you are overcome by His love and you love Him back.
Everything about following the Lord will change when you fall in love with Jesus.