O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar. – Psalm 139: 1-2
I was talking to a fellow last Monday at the gym about his work and mine. He knows that I’m a pastor, and so when I told him that it was my “day off” he smiled: “Your day off? I guess that means you don’t have to save any souls today!” “Oh, saving souls is not my job,” I said, “being a pastor is my job. Caring about souls is my calling.” To be more theologically precise, I should have said, “Saving souls is God’s job” but that seemed too complicated to explain at the moment.
What made his comment noteworthy was the fact that he had just told me, not more than two minutes before, that he had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer. He was hopeful because the doctor had said it was manageable; but as he spoke I felt for him, as most anyone would. He’s a very intelligent man, someone who helps others in his line of work every day, but he has gently reminded me more than once that although we agree on many things, God is not one of them.
As he was telling me about his diagnosis, I began to think about his future and quietly pray that his heart would be opened to God. Yes, I want him to have the “conviction” of faith that I have experienced, something I will be talking about this Sunday. So it was somewhat ironic that he was now assuring me, in that very moment in which I was praying for him, that I didn’t have to save any souls today. Had he read my mind? He is, after all, a Freudian psychoanalyst. He knows that wanting to save his soul would be my natural inclination. But there is something else, and that’s the fact that he brought it up, this thing about saving souls. Evidently, I didn’t have to say a thing. The idea of being “saved” was already on his mind, just as I believe that it is on God’s mind.
It’s good to know that we can pray for God’s saving work to be done, even when the person we are praying for is not open to our testimony or spiritual counsel; and it’s good to know that there is nothing, no mind, body, or soul that is hidden from God’s eyes or his concern. Hope to see you soon…