The Words of the Salonen Family
When I look into the faces of each one of you witnessing for the Yankee Stadium Campaign, I see how deeply determined each one of you are. When I see the lines of fatigue in your faces and weight which you are carrying on your shoulders, I always think the same thing: how much God must love each one of our brothers and sisters because of the tremendous effort we are making. And also how much we realize we cannot fulfill God's will through our own effort alone but by making our 100% effort a condition for God to fully bless America.
If God loves us so much and we dedicate ourselves so much, how is God going to add His blessing? Is it going to come in some mysterious way? Will God end His blessing with a crack of thunder on June 1? It is obvious that our relationship with God is not like that. If God is going to bring His blessing on the city of New York, it has to be through us. It can't be around us or behind us or on top of us. It has to come from within us.
A dedicated Christian missionary to China came to a recent luncheon here. "Thank you for coming," I said. "Thank you," she responded. In Isaiah 54 it says, "In front of all His enemies, God will raise up His standard." I've been praying for you for five years, praying for God to raise up His standard. Now I can see clearly that you are going to be God's standard. I am grateful to her. She, like many others in this city, have been beseeching God for something to change this city. She may have been expecting God to act in miraculous ways, but she is humble enough to recognize God acting before her very eyes just as He did 2,000 years ago. Because she can recognize God's action, she can receive His blessing. So she is rejoicing now in the midst of chaos because she sees the hand of God working.
God is in our situation. We are in God's situation. We have to hold God's hand and have our hand held by Him because we are both waiting to see the response. When we pray for Yankee Stadium, we have to realize that God wants to hear all of the prayers. God also has everything staked on the Yankee Stadium festival. If we collapse, not just our situation but God's situation will be imperiled. God is pounding the dust with us on the streets of New York, longing to bring people. We are praying to God for His help and inspiration. In a way, God is praying to us, comforting us.
Everyday we go out to the tip of Manhattan, deep into the uncivilized world. First you break into your teams and then you are standing all by yourself. Even though you are the same person and New York is the same city and God is the same God and Yankee Stadium is the same, you are now standing as a representative. If you feel that you are standing by yourself, it is a very terrible situation because the world is difficult, cynical, fallen, and jaded by disappointments. We are living in a world of a broken heart. When we try to talk to these people as an individual, it is difficult for them to see the answer to their prayers as did the missionary. But when you can feel God's presence in you, when you remember that all of the blessings which God has given you are the same that He will give to each one, you are in a position to touch them deep within their hearts as the answer to their prayers.
We have to go out every day and sacrifice ourselves. That doesn't just mean to work hard or to work long or to give up your lunch or to push your voice out and keep smiling. What it really means is that we have to give something of ourselves. We have to see the people as God sees them. We have to really push from within our hearts to give each person a taste of our own experience. No one can deny that. Nothing is stronger that the truth. Nothing is more powerful than the truth. And in the end, the people come nor just because of the logical construction of our arguments. If they feel something even though they can't understand if, they will be drawn. The people who are going out into the world everyday have often given up the search for God or the hope that God exists. And through us, God is trying to reach them. If we suffer rejection for ourselves alone, we have made a terrible mistake. If we share God's situation, we can see the cooperation of the spirit world around us. If we can build a righteous foundation, the spirit world will complete it. For example, when you go to street-speak, you may intend to say one thing but many other things come out. And later people may come and say, "That is exactly what I was thinking."
Most important in these crucial days is that we don't become separated in our feeling for how much God is working with us everyday. God is inspired by the same things that we are inspired by. If God loves each one of our brothers and sisters so much, He also loves each one of us so much. In the end, the words of Jesus come to be the most important. He said that people would know his disciples if they loved one another. If God wants to embrace each person, He must certainly want to embrace our members. But He can't do it Himself. Therefore, He must depend on us to create a true family which generates that embracing love. Would it be possible that we could love all mankind and everyone on the streets so deeply everyday but be closed to one another? Quite the opposite. By loving one another, we can generate an atmosphere of love which spills over all people of the human race.
This campaign gives us an opportunity to bring witness to the new spirit of our members. People are now aware of us in every part of the city. They are examining us very closely. They may have heard many things which will serve to heighten their curiosity. As we reach out above all the persecution, let us remember that God and we are in a common situation. Let us remember that God has been working side by side with us. How often we worry about out situation, making God come and comfort us before we take the next step! We have to lift the responsibility at least for ourselves off God's shoulders and finally for the people that God can trust to share in His situation.
We have to know and feel deeply that God loves each one of us. If we feel that, then we become the people with the magic key that no one else has. If you ate a person of God's love, people will automatically react when you walk down the street. If you are just an instrument of God's judgment, people will run from you..
Let us pray to experience God more deeply and move closely than at any time in our principled life. This is a precious moment. Rather than think of ourselves as individuals, it is time to think that this is our greatest experience with God. Let us be determined to embrace and transform New York and fill up Yankee Stadium. It is so important!