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Let me be a beggar in Your gates

May 5, 2011

Two nights ago I prayed a hard prayer, ’cause I was having a hard day, and I cried a hard cry, ’cause I met the Lord in a hard way, in my car, parked in a dark parking lot.

I’ve been thinking about eternity a lot lately – more and more every week, it seems, with no sign of slowing. I don’t think it’s “a season” as much as it is “growing.”

I read The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun, and then The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, and that combo erupted a strange turmoil in my soul. I found another Brother Yun book in a Borders that was going out of business, and couldn’t pass up a chance at grabbing anything by him for $5. Then, I spent a gift card someone randomly gave me on Radical, by David Platt.

There’s been a lot of “big picture” thinking, and if this life is a vapor, then the “big picture” is what comes next.

I’ve been thinking about the end of Schindler’s List, where the man breaks down weeping as he realizes how much more he could have done. How many could have been saved if he’d sold that pen? That car?

I’ve been thinking about Corrie Ten Boom and Brother Yun and Jim Elliot – as we prepare to take teenagers to Ecuador – and meeting them someday. I don’t want my ending to be like Schindler’s ending. I don’t want to stand in His presence, grateful for His mercy, but full of regret over my weakness, cowardice, apathy … I want to have stories to share with that great cloud of witnesses.

For weeks I’ve been ashamed of myself for feeling tired or overwhelmed or pressured. I think of how much these people – and believers all over the world with names that only a few people ever know – endure day after day for the Name of Jesus, and I get upset if I get more confrontation in one week than I’m used to.

I want crowns and rewards to cast at His feet someday, but two nights ago I was having a hard night and I sat in my car and I quit.

I told Him I couldn’t wait for the day He comes back – or the day I go to meet Him. I sank in my driver’s seat and longed, out loud, just to be in His presence – no dim glass, no veil, no world system, no rebellious flesh, no questions, no debates. Just us and Him. Even if I have nothing to show for my time here, I just want Him.

And a Divine eyebrow seemed to raise at me, and I cried as I realized new depths to my pride.

I didn’t want to be strong in this life for Him; I wanted to be strong in this life for me. I didn’t want rewards to lay at His feet; I wanted rewards so I could lay them at His feet. I didn’t want stories to share because He is worthy; I wanted stories to share to make me feel worthy.

How I repented.

Jesus taught heavenly rewards, and I know that. There’s no shame in them. It is our purpose and commission to go into all the world and make disciples. I know. Scripture describes crowns given for different sacrifices, and they’re cool. We are all working to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

But my heart was so disgusting that I repented,

“Lord, if I come to eternity alone, let me stand just inside your gates. If I have nothing but a simple crown of salvation to lay at Your feet, I will give it. If I have no stories to share, let me just sit and listen in awe. If every ministry effort falls apart at the seams, just don’t remove your presence from me.”

Then I prayed the hard prayer, but that’s between me and Jesus.

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