I had one of those moments last week when I was in Las Vegas for a trade show. Uh-oh, I can feel myself getting off track here. Okay, so I had to go to Las Vegas for this trade show, and the reaction from some of my Christian friends was just hilarious. You might have thought I had renounced Christ as my savior and taken up shamanism based on some reactions I got. So here's just a little tidbit of information....I don't need to go to Las Vegas to sin. There is nothing in Las Vegas that I can't get right here in the comfort of my own home...well, other than 100 degree temperatures in May I guess.
Let me put it to you this way. When I was in college I spoke with a number of Elementary Education majors that told me that they hoped to be able to graduate and find positions with good Christian Schools. When I asked why they wouldn't want to teach in public schools, they said that the "situation was too difficult."
So what good are you then?
Don't get me wrong, I know that we need to have good teachers in our Christian schools.....but what about that unsaved kid in public school. Doesn't he need an example too?
So yeah, I went to Las Vegas, and when I walked up and down the strip at night and the Mexican gentlemen tried to get me to take their pornographic paraphenalia, I said "I'll pray for you." When they said "No se'." I said "Rogaré para usted." and smiled. Okay, I'm not that good with Spanish anymore, I confess to having to Google that.
So, don't they need Christians in Las Vegas?
So I'm walking through the Casino (which is a little redundant, because basically when you are in Las Vegas you will always be walking through the casino....or a buffet) when I saw this couple walking along. The husband was walking along in front as the wife brought up the rear. walking alonside her was what I assumed was their son, who was mentally retarded.
A couple of thoughts went through my head. The first was the thought I usually get when I see someone like this, and I also used to get when I worked in the Human Services field with all sorts of emotionally and mentally impaired populations by the way. Whenever I see someone like that, I usually get this wave of compassion that rides over me and I think to myself "I'm ready to go God."
I used to work with a guy I'll call John. John suffered from extreme Muscular Dystrophy and had a hard time with even the most basic of human functions. However, although John suffered from this physical impairment, he did have all of his mental facilities. I will never forget the night that I was tansferring him from his wheelchair to his bed and I decided that I was going to share the Gospel with him. I asked him the important questions about believing in Jesus as his Savior and was delighted to find out that John was already saved.
What sticks out in my mind most of all though was the emotion in his eyes as he stammered out "No more wheelchair," as best he could. We shared a moment then that exploded with emotion as I lifted him out of his chair and changed him from jeans and a shirt to his pajamas. Both of us had tears in our eyes as we considered the fact that one day John would be free of this body that trapped him.
And that's the thought process that goes through my head whenever I see someone afflicted like that, or mentally or emotionally challenged....man, I'm just ready to go home to heaven sometimes, so that the corruption of my sinful nature will be forever removed from this world.
It hit me especially hard in Las Vegas, because the impact was twofold. First, there was the reaction that I just described, but I also had another deeper emotional pang as well. As I looked at this young man, I could see him looking around almost in sheer terror and clutching at his mothers arm as he took all of that casino in. The lights, the weird noises, the smoke, the diabolical laughter and people of all shapes and sizes....it's overwhelming no matter what state you are in, and this poor young man was simply petrified.
I got angry then, really angry. I was furious that this couple would be so intent on satiating their vices that they would drag this young man with them to Las Vegas. I started to think even more about some of the couples that I had seen that had made a "family vacation" out of a trip to Las Vegas and had brought their young children, or even thier teens with them. Las Vegas is no place for adults, never mind children.
I just got so frustrated. I couldn't believe these people just didn't get it. I walked through that casino and I looked evidence of every kind of debauchery imaginable, all of it built on the love of money....and I just got sad. I didn't want to be here anymore. I wasn't suicidal, that's not what I'm saying. I was just all done with the world and the way it is. I know that 90% of the 90% of people that call themselves Christians in this country aren't, and I was really feeling some despair as I walked through that place and thought about what a terrible choice these people had made.
I wished that I could grab them all, one at a time, give them a good shake and try to wake them up to what is of real importance in this life. I knew most of them wouldn't get it though, and that made me even more sad.
And then it hit me.
This had to be what it was like for Jesus.
This had to be what it was like for Jesus.
I mean, sometimes I'm one of those people that needs to be shaken. I only have the vaguest understanding of what Heaven is going to be like. I have what amounts to a childs understanding of the nature of God, the trinity, Jesus.
But Jesus knew it all.
How heavy was his heart as He walked amongst men and watched them make poor decision after poor decision? How much did it slay him when he saw an innocent taken advantage of? How did he go on when he saw injustice and greed and evil and the grim heart of sinful man around him every day? How could this perfect, loving, compassionate man stand it at all?
How can He love me?