I believe that, while working as an enumerator for the 2010 Census Bureau, I came to understand the frustrations and disappointment of God when people don’t accept Him, quickly, before they die, and before He returns. Let me explain:
The Federal Census was written into the U.S. Constitution…it’s required by law to participate. In fact, though it’s not promoted as such, it’s actually just as important (and required) to participate in the Census as it is to file your taxes (seriously!).
Now, before the 2010 Census surveys were sent out, the government did a LOT of advertising, letting people know that it was coming. Once it arrived, it paid buku-more money to express the urgency of completing and sending them in on time. They were sent out in the last couple weeks of March, and they needed to be IN by (not SENT by) April 1, 2010. Many sent them in on time, many got theirs in late, and many never did them. Therefore, the government hired 600,000 people (like myself), and sent us out in the name of the U.S. Government to these 2 latter types of houses, in order to do live interviews, thus get in their census before the next deadline. My badge expired at the end of June, so assumed that was the deadline. If they welcomed us and did the census, then cool. If they didn’t, then the government did actually have some consequences lined up for them (remember, not doing the census is actually breaking the law!)
When we arrived at the addresses, some residents were nice and cooperative. But some continued to avoid us, not answering the door when it was obvious that they were home, while some flat out refused to participate, giving reasons such as distrust for the government. Some were nice about it, some are mean, some made threats, and some actually went the distance of committing murder, such as some in Texas and Kentucky.
Then there were those who were almost impossible to get at home. For these, we left a “notice of visit” (as does the post office). On these notices were our names, a phone number where they can reach us, best times to call us, the phone number of the local office headquarters (should wish to verify our legitimacy), and a description of why we stopped by. Also, there was a part that said it would take about 10 minutes…most of us scratch out the “10” and write in 2-5 (because depending on how many people were living there on 4/1, I would often complete it in less than a minute). So every time we visited, if they didn’t come to the door, we left one of these notices. Now, some people did call, and we were usually able to complete it right there over the phone, but a huge number just blew us off completely. Why? Well, some figured they didn’t have the time (or didn’t want to take the time), some saw it as a way of rebelling against the government, many were skeptical of the government’s security with their information, and many just didn’t want to have anything to do with it. But we didn’t give up. In fact, by the 2nd visit, we began writing messages on these notices, hoping to persuade them into contacting us. And it became really frustrating (and annoying) when after all these notes, they continued to blow us off.
See now, originally we were only supposed to stop by up to 3 times. If we still didn’t get the interview, we were to ask their neighbors for as much information as they could give us. If there still wasn’t enough, then we’d look into reverse lookup, internet research, or pull their legal (public) records at City Hall. When we exhausted every effort, our Crew Leader would pass it onto another team member, basically continuing the process. See, we were making every effort for people to get their Census’ in before the deadline. If they refused us, others would continue to come by until it was done, but only up to a point, and that point arrived quick! If they refused several times, our Crew Leader would take it and visits them himself. And if they still refused, then it went to headquarters for them to deal with. So if the government follows through on their penalties and fines, then isn’t that fair? Because we did all that we could, even warned them of what would happen if they didn’t get theirs in…but instead, they mock us. Soon, time was up and there was nothing more that we could do. Isn’t this fair? And even if they didn’t know the penalty/consequence, yet continued to ignore and reject us in ignorance, isn’t it still fair? Because we gave them every opportunity to participate, even becoming annoying to them with all our visits, trying to persuade them, making every effort we legally could…isn’t it fair?
So what did this teach me about God? It taught me about how frustrated and disappointed God must get when people of this world continue to reject His Son, Jesus Christ. Get this: Through the prophets, God let everybody know that His Messiah was coming soon. Then once the Messiah (Jesus) had come, He spoke of the urgency of repenting and turning to God (for according the the LAW, God’s Law, given through Moses, accepting Jesus is required). Some accepted Him immediately, which was good, but some weren’t sure, and some flat out rejected Him. Then, after Jesus died and was raised, He sent (and continues to send) out His people to reach those who still have yet to repent and come to Him, before the next deadlines, which are their death, or the second coming of Christ, whichever comes first. As for when either will happen, we don’t know, but we’re told they’re coming quick, and if they don’t receive Him in time, there are consequences (Hell).
So as Christians, we’re sent out to reach these people in the name of Jesus. Some realize the urgency, some recognize they need Jesus, and many repent and accept Him. But as with the census, many avoid Him for whatever reason. Some say they don’t have time (or don’t want to take the time), some don’t realize they need Him, some just don’t want to have anything to do with Him, and some like some things about Him, but not others, so instead, they go with a religion that fits their preferences. Then there are those who are violent towards God’s people and anybody who talks about Him. They persecute us (as they’ve been doing for millenniums), physically and verbally abuse us, make threats and false accusations, and some even go the distance of committing murder.
But God continues to woo them, hoping they’ll realize their need for Him, repent, and turn to Him, as He did in the days of old with the Israelites, doing everything to persuade them into returning to Him. God allows them to go through trials and sorrows, hoping they’ll call out to Him in their need and grief. He continues to bless them, hoping they’ll realize His love for them, and He send His people to them. And when we’re rejected, He sends another, and another. He creates miracles, hoping they’ll see Him in them. And most of all, God makes every effort to give people every opportunity to repent and turn to Him. Every opportunity! Yet many continue to turn Him away.
Revelation 3:20 tells us that even at the very end, Jesus gives one last opportunity for people to accept Him as Lord and Savior, for He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.” As with the census, Jesus gives EVERY OPPORTUNITY for people to respond to Him. Some will finally open the door, some will continue to hide behind it. Some will open the door angry and annoyed, vocally expressing their rejection, and some will finally let Him in.
So what of those who continue to reject Him? Whether they know the consequences or not, God makes every effort to communicate with them, giving every opportunity to accept Him. But they continue to push Him away. The consequence of this is Hell…but isn’t that fair? But some say, “Oh but God’s a loving God, and I don’t believe He’ll send me or anybody to Hell.” Yes, God IS a loving God…that’s why He continues to give you every opportunity to turn to Him before the deadline! God loves you and doesn’t want you to go to hell, but He’s not going to kick down the door and force you to choose Him…He tries to PERSUADE you to choose Him, and HOPES you will, but if you don’t respond to His notices, then you’re not going to make the deadline. Notice that in both cases, we want (and would prefer) you to respond to our notices, preferably positively. You should pick up from the “notices” that it’s important that you do, and we keep bugging you to do so…but it’s up to you to respond…if you don’t, you’ll miss the deadline and suffer the consequences. And with God, the consequence is Hell. But isn’t that fair?