More than three years earlier, I sat on a log on a clear night near an old wooden two story mansion that was the main hall and kitchen of Camp Pu`u Kahea on the upper west coast of the island of O`ahu. It was the winter Retreat of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) where approximately 70 students gathered for spiritual refreshment, discipleship training and fellowship. Unfortunately, I wasn't interested in any of those things.
For at least a year before the camp, I had been investigating the Christian Faith ... attending the CCC campus meetings and a Sunday school class at a nearby church. But after 22 years as a nominal Buddhist, and being indoctrinated with the theory of Evolution from High School through College as a Zoology major, the teachings in the Bible were difficult for me to accept. As Josh McDowell, CCC Speaker and Apologist, would say, "My heart cannot accept what my mind rejects."
I sat outside looking up at the clear evening sky and occasionally glancing at the warm light coming from the ‘mansion’. I could hear the chatter and laughter of the other campers as they enjoyed a time of fellowship over hot cocoa before the final message. I sat under a starry night contemplating what I had been experiencing and learning at the Retreat.
The speaker, Elmer Lappen, was the campus director at Arizona State University and did not have to say anything to communicate his love for God. Then in his 50's, Lappen was paralyzed by severe rheumatoid arthritis and sat in a wheel chair with his knarled hands in his lap. But his enthusiasm was contagious. How could a man, confined to a wheel chair and experiencing continuous pain for most of his life, still believe in a God, much less be excited about Him? Either he was deluded or his God was real. How could I be as sure of God's existence as he was?
As I gazed upward, the lyrics of a song we sang at each meeting came to my mind. "In the stars His handiwork I see, On the wind He speaks with majesty ... ". On that night far from the city lights of Honolulu, the stars shone clear and numerous. Before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheeks. I had always wondered about the origin of the Universe, thinking the explanation of the Big Bang too short sighted. After all, where did everything come from before that? On that night, I found the answer. Only an infinite God could have created something as immense as the Universe. The stars and all of creation was the evidence and proof of the invisible Creator! The chorus echoed my thoughts perfectly. “Till by faith I met Him face to face and I felt the wonder of His grace ... Then I knew that He was more than just a God who didn’t care, Who lived away up there,”
A different person walked back to the mansion that night in anticipation of the final lesson. The text was Isaiah 6:1-8. Isaiah had just seen the LORD in His throne room, surrounded by the seraphim who sang out in antiphonal chorus, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts". Struck by his unworthiness, Isaiah admits his sinfulness only to be cleansed by the holy fire of God. Like a forgotten bystander, he overhears the concern of God who asks, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Isaiah steps forward and announces, "Here am I. Send me!"
After his talk, Elmer Lappen asked us the same question. "Who will go to take the Gospel to the world?" Then he challenged us to stand, state our names and respond to God’s call by saying, as Isaiah did, "Here am I LORD, send me." I remember sitting there with my head bowed listening as, one by one, people pushed their chairs back, stood up and answered the challenge. I thought about my own life and how, as a senior in college, I had been searching for something that I could be passionate about to do for the rest of my life ... something significant to invest my life in. Could anything be more significant than helping others come into an eternal relationship with God?
I stood up and said, "My name is Kenson Kuba. Here am I LORD, send me!"
God is still looking for people to take His Gospel to the world. People who are willing and available. People who will say, “Here am I LORD. Send me!”