War and rumours of war. More and rumours of more.
Do you find there are times when it seems like God is hidden, when we become ridden with questions about his presence, his involvement, his plan?
We peek into the darkness with the light we know, but our hearts may be torn.
We look for obvious movements of gracious love to fly in the face of evil interventions, yet evidence is sometimes hard to see and we may come up empty handed. We observe great darkness in concentrated camps of callous cruelty, starkly deficient of divine light and goodness, sufficiently wicked to make us weep, and if we’re not careful, despair may be born.
A forlorn world shores itself up on fleeing hope and mourns as late summer flowers wither.
We may miss the Spirit of God flying nearby to hear each cry, to come alongside our pain.
The context of our service is played out in the contest of clashing wills for power at every level. The news we read or perhaps the lives we lead by virtue of where we make our home, may shake us and those we serve to the core. We look for more than surface responses and easy jargon, seeking to learn how pardon truly works and gardens of grace can be planted for new relationships to grow as one in Christ above the grounds of fighting factions on this exiled earth without being naive or forcing belief. We live in between.
In the love of Christ … above the crisis … beneath his sovereign care.
As leaders holding harsh headlines of human suffering in one hand and a sparsely noted Christian culture in the other, we keep company with psalmists who describe raw emotions of fear and anger and loneliness with transparency in their search to understand God’s ways, to see God act on their behalf, to come to a place of accepting that he is ever at work behind the scenes, never far away from the messy fray of life’s challenges although we keep looking, watching, praying with trusting praise to see the day of deliverance in a new world of his making with the coming of the King both presently and in the future.
We’re in step with prophets who voted to be taken off the list of compliant servants in the weight of the call yet eventually found themselves so captured by conviction and divine equipping to be able to stand in the gap that they go another several laps of heralding the hidden purposes of God in hardened times, in hurting times, in hidden times.
Salvation in Christ. Ultimate redemption against all odds.
With honest speech, these messengers of warning and hope took up the slack where faith was lacking and prayed and preached and peered into mysteries which pointed to his nearness in both the best and worst of times.
We are often hesitant to speak such vulnerable prayers and experiences aloud in case we sound as though disbelief has gained the upper hand, as though expectancy of relief has been banned from our minds and we have somehow come to think we are on our own to fend for ourselves in the ramped up threats which have besieged us … that we’ve lost faith.
But the Father invites us to come to him just as we are, no false flags to wage a war on truthfulness and trust within this sacred bond depicting less than flagging spirits if that is where we’re at. He knows our silent pleas and frees us to expose our deepest thoughts to find him there with love beyond degree in an eternal treaty of peace through his broken body and poured-out blood for us in Yeshua, Jesus, Prince of Peace.
Such open confession of childlike dependency deepens our expectancy that something of his constant character will be freshly revealed, that something of our daunting need will come into our field of vision and be refocused in Christ, that our dull sight will be healed as he renews the dance of delighting in him who shows himself strong in our fragile weakness. Often in quiet ways, he waits for the perfect moment to remove his concealment, slipping into view to show us he has been there all along. He lifts our spirits to see again his resurrection power in a new light and gives us sight to see the path of praise where doubt had so recently been raised.
‘Lord, help us turn again to you to find the grace to be your servant leaders in such a time as this. We see horrors which stop us in our tracks and rack our hearts with pain for those who live in terror. Might there be an error in the accounts of atrocities? Might the ferocity of one group towards another be rarer than we think? Might it be worse? How long before you set things right, before your kingdom comes to silence all that does not bow to love?
Cast off our rising wings of fight or anxious flight so we will have the calmness of strength to wait and hear your wings of mercy drawing near right where we are to be a sign of hope in Christ who will surely lead us in every time of trouble through which we are called to pass.
For your servants embattled in body or spirit, may you enable them to see you in your glory, to swallow bread and wine laid out for those who rest in you by faith and hightail it to a place of worshipful dance in the wonder of your steady love, lifted high above the machinations of destruction and death in the peace and joy of believing. Amen.’
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.” (Psalm 68: 19)