The Father’s Heart
By Diane Han
In September, Good Seed Church celebrated its fourth year in ministry serving the growing Korean community in partnership with Sunrise UMC in Federal Way, Wash. Writer Diane Han shares her thoughts on the messages shared during the joint Church celebration.
Through the joint service with Sunrise United Methodist Church (Federal Way, Wash.) in celebration of Good Seed Church’s fourth anniversary, I was able to get a glimpse into what heaven must be like.
Not to sound cheesy or cliché, but the fact that we were able to worship God under the same roof was a true blessing. In Revelation 7:9, scripture says, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the lamb…” Our congregation is multi-generational and multi-cultural; yet, we were all there for the same reason – to honor and glorify our living God. We didn’t let our differences limit us, nor did we allow our language barriers to stand in the way of our worship and praise.
This is what heaven must be like. God does not discriminate between our different skin colors, our languages, our pasts, or our socio-economic backgrounds. God isn’t limited by these boundaries. Naturally, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we shouldn’t be limited by these boundaries either.
The Rev. Jo Dene Romeijn-Stout shared a message titled, “The Lost and Found.” Of course it is easy for us to live our day-to-day lives thinking about these parables simply as a blessing – which it is. God does seek us out and God is with us regardless of how much we might run or hide, or how lost we are, and these parables are a testament to our living, loving God.
But, on the other hand, I also felt a bit of shame in my heart while listening to this message. I feel that God was also communicating to us a deeper message. We live comfortable lives, assuring ourselves that we are, indeed, the good sheep. “God, I’m one of the 99,” we say. “That one sheep out of the hundred might have strayed, but I go to church every Sunday, I do quiet time every day, and give offering. God, I even serve the Church on Sundays, and I give up extra time to volunteer.” I often find myself living a self-satisfying life, and have lost focus of the Father’s heart. God says that “it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God – not by works, so that one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet, here I sat, completely content with the way I worshipped, I prayed, I volunteered, I lived. I had been lying to myself, and to God, that I was among the “good sheep,” but I was lost – I am lost. I had been living in the dark – working, serving, and “doing good,” not for God, but for my own satisfaction, resume, and agenda. Is this type of lifestyle satisfying to Him?
Furthermore, the message also reminded me of the Father’s heart and had me questioning whether my own heart was a reflection of his. Luke 15 reads, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” What? Having grown up in a Christian family, I had read these parables – the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin, the parable of the prodigal son – a multitude of times. Yet, for the first time I was taken aback by the wording of the passage. Jesus makes it seem like it is so obvious to go after the one lost sheep or to put everything down in search of the one lost coin, but to be honest, I sat there shaking my head. Why would you risk the 99 to go after the one? The answer was given to me. Our pastors reminded us today that the answer is simple: this is the core of the Father’s heart.
Just in Washington State, just on my own college campus, and just in my own household, there are people who are in dire need of the love of God. Beyond the borders of the U.S., there are even more unreached nations – completely unaware of God’s sacrifice, his only son, for us. I couldn’t help but to repent for how I had been living my life. God isn’t necessarily calling me to drop everything I have in life right now and go ship myself off to a rural town in the depths of Africa. But He is calling me to take a look into His heart.
I looked back at my own life and at my own heart and saw that I had put up this mask of a perfect Christian and have been living so comfortably behind it. Not only had I completely convinced myself that I was in a good place, but God continued to love me during all of my dry seasons and filled my cup, asking me to use it to fill the cup of those around me. Recently, I heard an analogy of God’s love. We’re all given a cup, and God pours his love into each of our cups – all we have to do is ask. All that God asks in return is for us to take our filled cup and go and be messengers to others with empty cups. God wants us to seek out those who can’t directly ask God for him to show us his love and help them. God is love. We as Christians should reflect this love and shine his light throughout our lives. What was I doing?
Rather than going out to reach out to my own father and pray for him to be able to experience the Holy Spirit and repent before our God, learn of his love, and be saved, I sat there in God’s light, simply enjoying the sunshine. God poured out his heart to me, and I neglected him. He begged me to go and make disciples, and I sat. Again, when I say this, I’m not saying that I am called to be a missionary in unreached nations, though some of us might be. But, I cannot deny that this world I live in, this college campus I study on, this city I reside in is all a mission field.
We closed the service, which went so smoothly despite all of our differences, holding hands and signing “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord of sea and sky, the Lord of snow and rain – he is calling me to love like he does. Rather than continuing this dry season and continuing to live in denial of the fact that I am a lost sheep, a lost coin, I embark on this next school year with hope. I have heard Him calling in the night, and I hope that as I continue my journey with God that our relationship can develop where I will be able to proclaim the lyrics of this song with the entirety of my heart. I will go Lord, if you lead me. It can’t be about me anymore. I can’t get lost in the deeds and the works and lie to myself that I have strong faith, when behind the mask I am broken. As I continue to grow, I know that I will be able to truly pray to feel the Father’s heart. It’s tough stuff – God feel’s pain for the lost, he feels urgency for those who don’t know him, and he hears the cries of those in need. I pray that I will finally come out of hiding behind my façade, accept my flaws, and share the love of God with those around me. I pray for the same for all of you as well.
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