Christianity gets a bad rap these days. Christians are painted as bigots, judgmental, homophobic haters. God is cursed for being unfair, cruel, jealous. If they only knew.
Most of us who spent any time in Sunday School as children probably memorized the 23rd Psalm. When I read it today I realized it describes the God unbelievers don’t know. It describes what God longs to be for all of us and them:
The One who protects us from our enemy Satan, the One who provides everything we need because He provides Himself, His presence and strength. We don’t need Oprah or pop-psychology or self medication. We don’t need to fear, or to worry, or to feel anxious about anything because He leads us to calm waters even in storms.
He leads us toward righteousness, which is anything but politically correct. But He never leaves us or forsakes us no matter what kind of resistance we face. We go through difficult times, losses, illnesses, pain. But we need not fear because the Holy Spirit – the Comforter – has come and lives right in us.
He blesses us in ways the world can’t understand, because God wants the world to see that He is a God who blesses. He is always working in the hearts of men to draw them to Himself, the Shepherd who wants to be these things for them, too, who does not will that any of them die without Him.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) The God unbelievers don’t know is the God who went to the cross for love of them; the God who paid what none of us can pay, and who saves all who call on the name of Jesus. He’s not cruel. He is loving and self-sacrificing, and gracious.
Then, the psalmist ends with reminding us that this life is temporary. Eternity awaits. And those of us who know Jesus will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Why don’t unbelievers know the truth about God? Could it be because believers aren’t telling them?
Dear Shepherd, sometimes your children seem to think that everyone knows the truth about you and chooses to reject you. But I wonder if that’s true. I wonder if some of these people who are so critical of Christianity really have no idea who you are. Their knowledge of you comes from movies and FB. I pray that you will lay on the hearts of your people, the fervent desire to speak the truth to those who have no clue. Because the God they don’t know is a compassionate Shepherd who wants to spend eternity with each of them, and who died so that can happen.