We live in dramatic times. And just in case real life drama isn't enough, we even live in "reality show" times. You know, the kind of reality that gets prearranged, scripted, twisted around, filmed, edited, produced, and then aired to millions of viewers. You know who the viewers are. They are people like you and me who apparently have no drama or reality of their own. They simply lead quiet, steady lives that would never show up on TV.
I hope you realize that was all tongue-in-cheek. The fact of the matter is that "reality shows" are a contrived environment that usually bears little resemblance to true reality, while the viewers actually live in a reality that can never be depicted accurately in an evening television show, or even in a series of shows that last a whole season. Most of the major themes in our lives develop over a period of years. Sometimes reality has sudden, momentous events, but even then the outcome will usually take weeks, months, and years to understand.
In todays devotional, Morley focuses on the "dramatic conversion" experience. He doesn't deny that they happen. He even cites some dramatic conversion experiences from the Bible and from history. He mentions Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, but he doesn't mention that the Christian community was slow to accept him. He had a long time of development before he became Christ's "apostle to the gentiles." He learned about Christianity in Damascus. He debated about Christianity in Jerusalem. He was sent off to Tarsus where we hear nothing about him until Barnabas, the ultimate encourager, picked him to go on an evangelical mission. Then we were finally introduced to the Paul who founded churches, wrote letters, and left a Christian legacy that continues to guide us today. Even with the drama, it took a long time to bear fruit.
There are dramatic conversions, but Morley also points out that dramatic conversions are not required. People can be raised in a Christian environment and know the light and warmth of God's love from the time they are children. Every person still needs to profess his faith, but the moment when a child walks into the light of God's love will probably be nothing at all like Paul's blinding experience. Instead, they are part of the promise in the scriptures where the head of a household would accept God's grace, and on that very night both they and their household would be saved. They adopted God's way for themselves, and they established God's way as _the_ way of life in their homes.
Whether or not we have dramatic conversion experiences, may we adopt God's way in our own lives, and establish God's way as _the_ way of life in our homes.
Dear Lord, thank you for your grace. It is too great to understand. Like Nicodemus, we are overcome by the thought of being "born again." Raise us as your little children. If we are like babies who have no recollection of our births, let us nevertheless know that we are born into your family. If we are like older children who remember being adopted, let us cherish the knowledge that you have chosen us. And either way, Lord, let us remember that we are your children, and the drama is in being your children. Amen.
Grace and peace--