I have a friend on Face Book who is polar opposite of me on politics. But as Christians our priorities are higher than politics.
A few weeks ago his grandson went missing. The family’s pain resonated deep in me. I understood the terrifying fear, the guarded hope and most of all the uncertainty.
When I was a junior in high school my sister disappeared. It was over thirty years before we learned her fate. The desire for answers never left.
My friend did not have to wait long before the uncertainty and hope were over. His grandson’s body was soon found. The family may have some answers but new questions have taken their place.
The pain I shared with my friend erased our differences for the moment. Neither of us changed politically but we were reminded that as humans we share a common foundation. Ephesians 4:29 reminds us “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
God is showing me that even in politics the words from my mouth need to be wholesome, not tearing down those I disagree with; for, like my friend, their needs may be great.
Do you present a different attitude for religious discussions than you do for political? Why?
I recently attended the Women of Faith Conference in Portland. It was great and encouraging to sit with 8,500 Christian women and praise God. There was glory given to God through storytelling, testimony and music, but the loudest message for me wasn’t in any of those.
A blank canvas was in the center of the stage and a young man dipped his hand in paint and began to create. He softly ran his hand down one side of the canvas leaving a squiggly line. He scooped more paint and waved his arms as though he was conducting a silent orchestra. The scattered lines he made didn’t make sense. But as he continued, slowly an image began to appear. One area looked like an eye and the undistinguishable squiggly line was now the flow of hair over a shoulder. A face took shape and when the artist left the stage, Jesus stared out at a room full of speechless women.
This was an artist demonstrating our own lives. How often do things happen in our lives that we cannot make sense of? The one squiggly line appears to be worthless. But when we allow God time to work in us, He takes all of our experiences (squiggly lines) and works them together; not so they make sense to us but so that we see Jesus in them.
When you are surrounded with trials, how do you see Jesus? Do you have to wait for an answer before you see Him?
The children’s movie Aladdin is full of adventure with the message of good versus evil.
When Aladdin is trapped in a cave beneath the desert sand and seems lost, he finds a magic lamp. The Genie which appears offers him the traditional three wishes. Aladdin would likely wish to get out his entrapment. But he makes sure the genie hears him tell his monkey friend, Abu, that freeing them was probably too big of a task for a mere genie. Genie takes the challenge and rescues them. Aladdin receives the power of the genie without using any of his wishes.
Sometimes I think that is the way I pray. I moan about a problem that is upsetting me and want God to take away the problem so that I will feel better. Like Aladdin I question whether God can or will change my situation while hoping that He will prove me wrong by providing my answer. Aladdin was being deceptive. I am acting on doubt.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” We are to come before God with confidence. We are to freely tell Him all that is on our hearts; leaving nothing out. He wants our honesty. He cannot answer our prayers when we hold onto our resentment, anger or unbelief.
Give those negative emotions to God and He will replace them with grace and mercy.
Have you ever asked God for something but remained doubtful or resentful about it?