Several years ago, a friend asked me to describe the experience of going to Russian Baths in New York. I found myself waxing on, talking about God giving me a bath, leading others into the experience, and the rewards of just being with God. Coming back, I find myself drawn to the heat, even when the rest of the city is sweltering in the August humidity. As I sat in the heat, sweat escaping at every opportunity, I wondered; what was my real reason for returning? Was I looking for a great sauna or was I coming back to where I had met God before?
As the heat overwhelmed my senses and I prepared for the bucket of ice water, I found myself reflecting on what I am looking for God to do in my life. God is not about a leisurely stroll in the park! God is at war; war with sin and all its' manifestations. God hates the fact that people are going hungry while food rots. God despises the fact that we continue to hurt each other – with guns, knives, and most of all words. God cries as we bury the innocent.
To the injustice, God provides mercy. For those seeking friendship and someone to be with, God extends unconditional acceptance. For the victims of abuse, bigotry, and ignorance, God gives his first love. When it all seems overwhelming, when we wonder why God does not act, he offers you and me. We are His hands, eyes, feet, ears, and most of all heart to those in need.
In responding to the crisis all around, God will never send out those unprepared. At all times He provides the Presence, and prepared personnel. That is us! He knows that “good character is the best insurance; crooks get trapped in their sinful lust,” (Proverbs 11.6) so He is looking to prepare and refine our souls.
Taking a sauna is always a choice with a marvelous outcome. Letting God prepared and refine you is another decision you and I must take – in each moment.