In a way, God will always be telling me to turn to him. Turn to him in my needs, turn to him in my joys. To God I am a success story because he already knows the end. He just has to turn to his right and see Jesus sitting by his side. The lesson that Acts is teaching me is God makes a path to Jesus for everyone. He breaks into time and space and intervenes in our lives. Cornelius opened the door for the Gentiles to receive God, but it was God who initiated. God gave him the vision. God gave Peter the vision. God makes the path for us to walk in before we even know we have feet.
All of this is not new to me, but I want to make it real so there needs to be a concrete way of thinking about this. There are two points I need to learn. 1. Evangelism is double-sided. 2. Grace is to set us free
The first point I had not fully understood. However, it makes perfect sense to think that the best evangelism is initiated by God. He knows who he's working on. He also knows who he wants for someone to talk to. So why not ask Him? Talking to someone before they're ready is like touching an iron while it's still hot. You get burned. I mean a red-hot piece of iron that God is forging. He's hammering them out. If we talk before God is ready for us to, we might get hit with the hammer, or worse, ruin the thing he's making.
Point two is much more complex. Grace is to set us free. Grace is to "burden" us with what God gives as a gift. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. What trips me up is God's willingness to accept me back EVERY TIME I fail. I'm somehow stuck in a world where I'm dreading the last time I fail. The time when I sin, I die, and God says.
"Ooh, that last one there, uh yeah, I'm going to need you to go right to Hell for that. You see all the other times I forgave you because I foreknew you were going to stop sinning but, actually I didn't intend for you to keep sinning right up to your death. Yeah caught me by surprise on that one, sorry! Never knew you!"
Then I have this awful thought that I'll spend the rest of eternity wishing I hadn't sinned that one last time.
All of that is ludicrous, absolute and utter rubbish. Fear, first of all, that ALL of my sin is not paid for. Past, Present, and Future sin. Every sin. All of them. Why not?! God is our Father and if I had a son who I told could never do anything to lose his place in my family, I would always honor that word. Even if he destroyed my car, or house. I would still love him. How much more does God love us? He loves us to the point of letting us kill him! If I can be forgiven of that, what could I possibly do to make him change his mind about me? We can't catch God by surprise. He made all of history and therefore knows every step and misstep that we'll take.
God's desire is to so change our manner of thinking that to sin is only to require more grace. Since our sense of justice or quid-pro-quo is always on, he needed to do something that would transcend it. Yes he satisfies justice but he does it to a ridiculous degree. We are left simply dumb-struck to try and utter a word to refute it. He gave a billion dollars for our $17.95 debt. He gave a yacht when we asked for a row-boat. He gave us Jesus, and ultimately himself, when we asked for forgiveness.