“How do I get that?”
I had been talking to a woman about God. She was convinced that God could never look on her with love. She had done too much that in her own eyes was wrong and unworthy of God.
In all her talk, she had never uttered the word “Jesus,” even though she had talked over and over about her certainty that God “is there.”
So, I asked her about Jesus. She did not know what to say about him. She was not sure how God was Jesus and Jesus was God. It was all confusing. So, we talked about that for a little bit.
Then I talked to her about the fact that God loves us, loves her. I talked about the fact that all of us — me as much as any — fall short of the glory of God. We all are sinners. We all have a list of the ways we fall short of God’s dreams for our lives.
But the good news is this: While we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us.
And I talked about the cross and forgiveness and new life.
I talked about the sense, the assurance, the knowledge that one can have that Jesus Christ loves me and died for me and forgives me, even me, for all sin.
“How can I get that?” she asked.
And so I talked about faith. I talked about trust in Jesus. I talked about it being something that we receive not something we do. I asked her if she would like to pray with me.
“I was going to ask you if we could,” she said.
And so we prayed. We confessed our sin. We asked to be forgiven. We named Jesus as Lord and Savior. We thanked him for all he has done and will do for us. One after the other. Voice after voice.
As she prayed, she cried.
We said “Amen.”
When I saw her the next day we talked about building on that foundation. We talked about finding a church where others could help her continue what had begun.
She said that before she had been seeking relationship with God. She thought she had it. But what she had was not real. It needed drugs and alcohol to keep her numb.
“I know what it means now. I know what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.”
Some days, being a pastor is not at all a bad way to get along in this world.