A Matter of Focus
"The Lord isn't real."
"But He is."
"So, how come I never seen him?"
"But you did."
"Yeah? When?"
"You see Him everyday."
"BS! I ain't never seen him."
"Look at it this way: if you stare at a flashlight that's aimed at you with a bright light at night, can you see the hand holding it?"
"That's different. I don't see the connection. What's a flashlight got to do with seein God?"
"You can not see the hand holding the flashlight because your eyes naturally focus on the light itself."
"I still don't get it."
"You can not see what you do not look for. You can not touch what you do not reach for. It's all a matter of focus. If you focus on seeing the light of the flashlight, you'll miss the hand hodling it. If you focus on touching a tree, you'll miss the forest. If you focus on the things of this visible world, that which can be seen, you'll miss His Greater Truth, that which can't be seen.
If you focus on that which can't be kept, you'll miss that which is eternal. At best, we are in an existence that is finite and less than a pin-point compared to galaxies, let alone eternity. We, who are held and confined in this world by time, space and matter, cannot see beyond the limitations that encase us to a minor touch of Truth. Just as a fish thinks the fishbowl is the full extent of what is or what may be, we think what we see is the full extent of Truth. Without some force to take it beyond the confines of its fishbowl to a greater knowing of truth, the fish will live and die believing it has tasted all there is to know. Without Jesus Christ to take us beyond the extent of our knowing, we will live and die thinking we have touched the full extent of Truth. Don't you see?"

"Ok. Suppose I accept what you say. How do I get beyond my [limitations]? How do I get to see him?"
"First, ask Jesus into your heart, your life, and your soul."
"Just ask Him. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door will be opened unto you. Unlike most human journeys, there is nothing you can do to prepare your way. All you can do is accept what He has already secured for you: Your Salvation."
"What do you mean by that?"
"There is nothing you can do, nothing you need to wear, nothing at all in the way of preparing to meet Him. No matter the condition of your body or your mind or the length of your sins, you can go to Him and He will accept you willingly and with open arms. He does not tell us to come to the banquet, so to speak, properly prepared, but instead He asks us to come ‘just as we are’."
"Uh...if he don't like sin, why would he talk to me at all? Is that why he ain't shown hisself to me, because I'm so much the sinner?"
"First, He died for your sins, for the forgiveness of those sins; He died in place of you to pay the penalty of those sins so that you would not have to pay the cost. He already knows what you've done and willingly died to erase those sins. All you have to do is accept that fact. Second, He HAS shown Himself to you. But, like the flashlight, all you see is a light and not the flashlight it comes from nor the hand holding it. You do not see the light by accident, but He has called you to see it. He has a free gift of Salvation waiting for you, and He wants to give it to you so much so that He not only sent Jesus to die for you but He is also showing you the light to which He wants you to walk...no, to RUN."
"I still don't get it."
"Have you seen a beautiful sunrise or sunset?"
"Yeah. But..."
"Have you seen people helping others? snow-capped mountains? lush green valleys? Smiles? tears of joy? tenderness? love?"
"Yeah. So?"
"Do you breathe? Wake up each day? Live?"
"Well yeah, but..."
"Then you HAVE seen Him!"
"But he don't talk to me."
"Ah, but He has."
"Have you ever seen a bumper sticker proclaiming that ‘Jesus is the Way’ or caught a sermon on the television?"
"Am I now talking to you about Christ?"
"Well, Jesus talks to us in many ways. He's talked to you before through bumper stickers, billboards, sermons, friends, television and more..."
"But what about other tv shows, or bumper stickers that say strange things or that say he ain't real?"
"Because Jesus is not the only one trying to get our attention. Satan tries to confuse and beguile and trick us all the time."
"So how do I know who's talking?"
"It's a matter of focus."
"Say what?"
"All throughout our lives Jesus is standing right beside us waiting for us to take His ourstretched hand, waiting for us to ask Him to come into our lives and to be the guiding force in our existence."
"So, if he's so close, why doesn't he just show himself?"
"Would you believe merely because you saw a presence? He wants us to choose wisely and not because of that which is seen. If we do not believe in our hearts, our eyes would be prone to trick us. God, in His Love for us, gave us free will. If Jesus forced us to accept Him, it wouldn't be our free will but an imprisonment. He does not want to take away our free will. God Loves us so much He is willing to allow us to walk away from the Salvation of His Son Jesus Christ. The very meaning of life itself is based on that free will. We can either freely accept Him, or reject Him for this world's offerings."
"Can't we have both?"
"It is written in The Bible, ‘You can not serve two masters.’ We can not go up and down at the same time. We can not live in both the darkness and the light at the same time, but must choose between them. We can not stand and sit both at once. We can only do one or the other. But the choice is fully ours. His world is an eternity that does not include this finite world and all its sinful ways, and this world is a finite existence that does not include His eternity. One can not be finite and eternal, but one or the other. Either our treasure is in that which is yet to be, which is forever, or our treasure is in this world which of course we can not keep."
"So ok. Suppose I want him in my life. How do I do it? How do I get this Jesus into my life?"
"Just ask."
"Ask what?"
"Ask Jesus to come into your life."
"What? ‘Jesus, come into my life’?"
"Yes. Well...do you want to know Him?"
"I think so."
"I mean yes. Of course I do. If He's real, then I want to know."
"Are you willing to let go of all you have? to make Him number one, your top priority in your life?"
"Not my car!!!"
"Then, you are asking Him to be second to your car. If you truly want Him in your life, HE MUST BE SECOND TO NOTHING!"
"But I would like to keep it."
"That will have to be up to Him."
"I...well, I...but...my car..."
"Can you take your car with you beyond this world?"
"Then you must let it go and openly and willing ask Him into your life to be THE most important part of your life, ahead of all things including your car."
"Then, say this prayer."
"I know I am a sinner and that I'm not worthy..."
"Are you a sinner? (We all are, you know.)"
"Yeah, but I don't want to admit it, not out loud."
"Don't you think He knows? everything?"
"I guess so...but what will others think?"
"Does it matter more what other people think, or what God thinks?"
"Ok, then say the prayer."
"Ok... Jesus, I'm a sinner and I ain't worthy..."
"...but I ask You to come into my life."
"But I ask you to come into my life."
"I accept that you died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins."
"I accept that you died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins."
"That you died for me personally, and that you love me."
"That you died for me personally...hold it. Personally?"
"Yes. He knew you before you were born. He knows everything about you. The world's biggest computer collection couldn't know you better than He does."
"I...ok...you died for me personally, and you love me."
"I accept the Salvation you secured for me on the Cross."
"I accept the Salvation you secured for me on the Cross... Salvation?"
"To be saved from sin and the punishment for sins."
"I repent for my sins and ask your forgiveness."
"What's ‘repent’?"
"We are sorry for having sinned and ask for forgiveness."
"Ok... I repent for my sins and ask for forgiveness."
"I ask now that you guide me as I begin my walk."
"I ask you to please guide me as I start my walk... and I'm gonna need a lot of help too."
"...and protect me as I grow in the knowledge of you."
"Protect me?"
"From what?"
"The closer we get to The Lord and His Holy Truth, the more satan will try to attack and distract us, and the more he will try to derail us and attract us or tempt us away from The Lord and His truth. Satan hates every human, but his loudest and most abusive anger is reserved for those who have answered The Lord's calling with a ‘YES’."
"Ok... and protect me as I grow..."
"...in knowledge of you... He will teach us and guide us and fill us with the knowledge of Him, the knowing of Him."
"...and protect me as I grow in knowing you."
"In Jesus Precious Name, I pray. AMEN."
"In Jesus Precious Name, I pray. AMEN... Is that it? Is that all there is to it?"
"That's it."
"I don't feel nothin. I can't see him neither."
"Don't look with your eyes. Look with your heart. You'll know. Be patient. He will show Himself increasingly to you and in undeniable ways, but you must look not with your eyes; instead, look with your heart."
"So, I'm saved?"
"Did you pray that prayer just to say the words for me to hear, or did you believe what you were saying?"
"I believe what I said. I really do want to know Him. I'm still not sure though..."
"Not sure? about what?"
"What next? I mean, now I can get on with my life knowing I'm saved?"
"Not so fast."
"Now you need to read The Bible, gain understanding of His Word which you can't do unless you get into His Word, pray daily, and join a local church."
"But I thought..."
"Salvation happens at the very instant we ask Him into our lives if we mean it with our heart and profess it with our mouths, but growth is a lifelong journey."
"But a Bible?"
"Look at it this way: when you buy a brand new stereo outfit, what's the first thing you check out when you get it home and out of the box?"
"The owner's manual?"
"The Bible is like an owners manual. It's the owners manual to the life you just stepped into. And satan will stop at nothing to bring you back to him and away from God and Truth. Unless you read The Bible, you won't be prepared for the coming conflicts, the attacks of the deceiver. You need to understand that satan will do everything he can to keep you from the full extent of God's Love and Mercy and Grace. The battle is not one fought in the flesh but in the spirit. Trying to take on satan without Jesus is like trying to drive without a vehicle. Trying to fight satan without God is like walking naked and unarmed into a full scale war. You need the Armor of God as detailed in the sixth chapter of Ephesians."
"Where do I start?"
"Read the book of John..."
"But I don't have a Bible."
"Here... you can have mine."
"Nah. I don't want to take yours away from you."
"The Lord gave it to me not to hold and hide from others but to use it to bring His Word to others. It has been a great teacher to me, but now it's time for a new student. I will get another one. For now, this Bible is yours, and you are its student. Learn well."
"Well...I guess so."
"Besides the book of John, read the sixth chapter of Ephesians and prepare yourself to be a warrior of God."
"You mean I gotta fight?"
"No. I mean you have to allow The Lord, working in and through you, to do the fighting. He will make the miracles occur, not you, but He works best through those who are fully open to His Will."
"Is that it?"
"Well, aside from reading The Bible you'll need to find a good church. I can help you with that if you'd like. Also, you need to be in prayer daily."
"Also, some things I use include recording the various Bible verses you come across that have particular meaning to you. I use 3x5 index cards and write one verse per card; put the whole verse on one side and the verse reference on the other side. Carry the growing set with you always and refer to them often, especially in times of weakness; satan will try to turn your weaknesses to his advantage at every opportunity."
"You said a church?"
"Yes, like I said, I can help you find a good church. You need to go to a church on a regular basis, even and especially when your flesh tells you you don't really want to go. Plus, it would be a great help to join a Bible Study group and attend Sunday School."
"I'm already getting excited...goosebumps."
"It's a beginning. You've taken your first step toward eternity."
"Ok. I gotta go, but thanks. And stay in touch. Here's my number. Pray for me, please. I have a feeling I'm going to need it."
"Ok. Here, take the Bible before you go. It's yours."
"Really, I can't. It's your own."
"No, not really. All that I have belongs to Jesus Christ."
"Are you sure?"
"Let me put it this way: on the day I was saved, someone gave me this Bible. I treasured it and learned from it greatly. While I am still learning, and will continue to do so for as long as I breathe, I have used this Bible as it was intended to be used. Now, it's purpose is with you. In fact, just today, while in prayer, The Lord spoke to my heart and asked me if I could part with it someday. I didn't realize at the time what He meant, but now I do. Praise God!!"
"Wow. This is great. Nobody will believe me, but I feel so much better than I did just a few minutes ago. It's like a heavy weight was taken off my back. It's almost like I'm walking on clouds... Well, I really gotta go now. See ya."
"Before you go, can I pray with you?"
"Dear Jesus, I thank you for this soul you have won today. I thank you for working this miracle, this blessing. In your Holy, Precious Name, I earnestly pray for your continued help and guidance in this man's life. I pray that as he walks along the path now before him, that You take his hand and lead him in the path of righteousness. Guide this man in his walk and show him the greatness and glory of You! Praise! Praise Him who saves! Praise You, God, for this man's soul, now in Your very able and capable hands. To Jesus be the Glory for ever and ever, AMEN!! and AMEN!!"
"AMEN! Thank you, sir, for being here for me."
"Thank you, for listening. May The Lord go with you!"
"God Bless!"
As I watched him walk away, I began to cry uncontrollably. The Lord had done it again, and this time He used me to do it. He is so Great! Thank you, Father, for once again showing me the value of serving You with willingness and openness. "You are truly an AWESOME GOD!! In Jesus Name, I pray. Praise you...Praise you...Praise you, Father, Abba Father, God!! AMEN!!"

by Andrew D. Festa
Written June 29th, 1997
Copyright ©1997

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