I came to a very sudden realization the other day. I always knew it, but somehow it just made more sense to me than normal- only Jesus can lead people to himself. All I can do is point the way. No matter how much I tell people about Him and His love for them, they will never believe it unless they accept it and the only one who can reach beyond the thick walls of flesh and bone to touch the heart is Jesus.
How much it must break His heart when He reaches out and still even then they choose not to trust His goodness. How much He must weep for their blindness.
Maybe you want to yell at me now and tell me that "Well if He's God then that shouldn't stop Him." But, that's the beauty and curse of creating a people and then giving them free will. He didn't want us to be puppets attached to strings in heaven. He didn't want to give us the script of our lives so that we can read the part perfectly. He wants us to trust Him because we choose it. He wants us to be unique individuals that create glory.
It's a good thing I'm not God, I think I'd get so heartbroken by some of the choices people make that I would want to force them to do what was right. It would be out of a loving heart for them, but then they would never learn and they would never really be able to return the love I have for them. Their lives would become false and stagnant and the beauty of creativity would not exist.
I love that God gave us free will... Reminds me of my students. One of my favorite things about teaching film is to see the stories that come out of their imaginations. I feel like J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland when he passes the journal to the little boy, Peter. Peter asks what he should write and Barrie tells him to write about a talking whale. Little Peter looks at him quizzically and asks what whale. Barrie answers, "The one that's trapped in your imagination and desperate to get out." I love my students' creativity. If I love it, then how much more does God love the creativity we create? This only comes if we have a free will.
Somehow it makes me think of horses. I love horses and am also terrified of them. They are huge, powerful animals and when I touch them I can feel the raw power coursing through them. One simple lift of a foot or a slight movement of the head and you can see the perfect muscles rippling just under the surface. They are wild and beautiful and fully alive. Now imagine a puppet horse. Or even one of those horse outfits where two people jump inside and act like the horse. They are fun and for maybe a brief moment they bring laughter or joy, but it's only for a moment. The real animal continues to course with a life power that is so tangible that the joy and awe continues long after. In a weird way, we are like them. God didn't want the toy version, he wanted the relationship and lasting joy that comes with the real us.
Which leads me back to where I started. Only Jesus can break people's hearts, in order to heal them. Does that make sense? What I mean is, just like a horse is broken so it submits and trusts it's master, He breaks past our indifferences, our hurt, our anger, our beliefs. He breaks past the callousness of our hearts to transform us. Make us more into our true selves. He's not interested in puppets, He's interested in living, creative and powerful people.
I can only point the way to this awesome guy and trust Jesus will take them the rest of the way.