WHEN A STORM raged on the Atlantic one night, [John] Wesley’s English companions screamed and cowered; surely Wesley felt fearful himself. But he marveled at a group of German Christians called Moravians who worshiped and calmly sang hymns while the storm raged. What accounted for their composure? One Moravian explained to Wesley that the group was “not afraid to die” – strange words to a man who believed he had to be sanctified, that he had to live a holy life, before God would accept him.
Like Paul’s moment of reckoning on the road to Damascus, the episode began a lengthy period of discernment for Wesley that led him to learn more from the Moravians. Upon his arrival in Georgia, he sought out a Moravian pastor who posed the question: “Do you know Jesus Christ?”
“I paused,” Wesley wrote in his journal, recounting the conversation, “and said, ‘I know He is the Saviour of the world.’ ‘True,’ replied he, ‘but do you know He has saved you?’ ”
Wesley wrestled with this question even as he struggled to bring people to Christ. Two years later he departed Georgia, depressed and defeated. “I who went to America to convert others,” he wrote, “was never myself converted to God.” Imagine his desperation at this point. How many times do you think he was driven to pray, in so many words, Which way, Lord?…
Wesley realized he didn’t have to earn God’s acceptance. He’d found the starting point to a new, God-inspired direction. His purpose grew from God’s love, and he lived out that purpose by taking the message of this boundless love to his parishioners. Eventually, Wesleyan theology would spread throughout the world.
– Rob Fuquay
Which Way, Lord?
From pages 12-13 of Which Way, Lord? Exploring Your Life’s Purpose in the Journeys of Paul by Rob Fuquay. Copyright © 2017 by Rob Fuquay. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
When have you found yourself believing you needed to earn God’s love? Share your thoughts.
Then the LORD said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.
1 Samuel 3:11, NRSV
This Week: pray for persons who are making life-changing decisions. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
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This week we remember: Joan of Arc (May 30).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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