The power of prayer is amazing and wonderful and perfection. I have spent the last few days experiencing some unexpected friction. And while feeling attacked from all angles I found was that I positioning myself closer to God then before.
It’s surprisingly easy for me to separate my believing, joyful heart away from the jarring barbs that others send my way. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt – but those swirling currents of negativity fail to turn my heart away from the truth and faith I have in my God.
In the last 48 hours I have heard the following from “non-Christians” or “unbelievers”:
“You aren’t being very Christian” : This person asked for my honest opinion, and without attacking or demeaning them I shared my opinion. It wasn’t in agreement with their opinion on the situation, and that makes me un-Christian because I didn’t agree with their choice and failed to re-assure them that what they did was ok. Being a true person of faith doesn’t mean that you blindly accept things and refuse to point out errors. Maybe I could have used different wording, maybe it was my tone of voice, but I feel like it was just the lack of telling this person that they were justified, when they clearly were not.
“For a Christian you aren’t very compassionate”: Another person, another situation. I start to wonder if I’m not compassionate. Am I to blame when I look at something from a different perspective and share it? No, actually, I don’t think I am. However, my heart is sad when someone makes a poor choice, but I can’t change what YOU did. All I can control is how I react to it. If that means that I distance myself from the situation to protect my spirit, unfortunately that will separate myself from you. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care or that I am not there for you. What it does mean is that I cannot and will not fight your battles for you. I cannot be the person that takes on the worlds sins. I am not designed for that. The only person that ever walked this Earth with enough grace and compassion to carry the weight and sin of the world was Jesus. And I am sure not him. I wouldn’t want that much pressure. So I didn’t break down and cry about your choice. I will still hold you until your tears run dry and if you need a friend to correct your mistake, I will help you achieve what you need to. My heart belongs to God and it will stay joyful for I am a child of God that is endeavouring to be all that he asks me to be.
“Just because you go to church doesn’t make you perfect”: Ain’t that the truth. I am so far from perfect I could cry each day. All I have is to repent of the sins I cause and to try and try and try each day to live as best I can. I am the first one to show how far from perfection I am. I have made massive mistakes in my life, committed sins…but right now those things are in my past. They will stay there. I have let of go of them because I have experienced the true forgiving nature of my God. I look to my future so that I can fly, run and live within the grace of God in the darkest of times. This isn’t a passing phase but a life that will be committed to his direction. Without God what is there?
It’s amazing that there are people in my life that decide that they should tell me what it is to be a follower of Christ when they don’t know him at all. I have no knowledge to show up and tell a doctor how to operate, or an engineer how to design and build something, or a teacher how to teach. Yet people think that they have a right to tell me what my religion is while not having a relationship with God or any other divine entity. I wonder if Jew’s, or Sikh’s, or Buddhist’s have to listen to others telling them what it means to be who they are by people who have no knowledge of how to follow that particular religion. I’m not sure if they do, but it’s very likely, since many are afflicted with the humanistic trait of passing judgement where it is not required.
Before having God decide that I needed to wake up and understand that he’s in my life I too was guilty of judging Christians. I would see people who followed Christ full of joy. I would wonder how they could be so happy in the face of destruction, and it’s not that they would show happiness in the act of the disaster itself, but that they could find the small joys amongst the wreckage. In the destruction and unrest of our world, I would be astonished that they could still smile. I would wonder how they could lift their hearts with song and get to work with repairing the things that needed to be done.
Now I see and feel those things. Every event that comes our way is an opportunity to find faith, to renew hope, to cherish the beauty of people who are brought to life through the love of Christ, to prepare the way for new followers, to understand true love, and most of all to understand that set backs here on Earth do not have to separate us from an eternity of joy.
I started reading a book a few weeks ago called “Divine Intention” written by Larry Shallenberger. I think it was intended for pastors, however the subject of exploring the book of Acts and how the early church should influence our modern-day churches intrigued me. I had the last chapter to read, and had put it off until last night. I think I might have bought the book just to read this one paragraph on page 182:
“Over time I came to understand that both God and Satan use fire for their purposes. God uses fire to refine and strengthen while Satan uses heat to scar and disfigure. Why do both God and Satan value fiery experiences? In the physical realm, fire agitates molecules and speeds up chemical reactions. The same is true spiritually. The fire of suffering is a spiritual accelerant. Suffering speeds up the stuff of our characters and makes us susceptible to change. Our decisions made during a week of suffering yield their consequences more quickly than those made during a year of tranquility”
That clicked with me. I have had a crash course in life, love, religion, family, and everything spiritual since last December. The faith I have has grown and dug right into my soul. It’s not going anywhere. That devil doesn’t want to ever let anyone of us go, and my passion is not to the temptations that he presents any longer. My passion is for God. For the work that God wants me to do. And in order to get to the core of the stuff that God wants me to do I have to keep my fevered passion alive.
I had felt like I was wandering for a while here. And feeling a little lost and floating around achieves nothing. I didn’t know if the things I was being drawn to were my choices or the path that God was pointing me to. So he sent along some spiritual strife. Today I’m thankful for that.
I run to work most days and combine that time with prayer. It’s a best part of an hour that I get to listen to music that uplifts my soul and zone out into prayer. Some of you might say that I should be doing nothing else while praying but I don’t think God minds my multi-tasking, being outside in nature has always been the place I’ve felt most connected to the higher power. So as I ran along the rotary trail today I prayed and prayed. I prayed that whole time. After a few strange looks from the others on the trail I realized that I was saying my prayer out loud (if you hear of a crazy praying woman on the rotary, don’t be afraid, it’s just me!). Anyway, for all that praying out loud the day led me to some clear answers about what my heart has been pondering.
I cannot be stagnant any more. That doesn’t mean I need to eschew all of my life and live in solitary…although sometimes I feel like that spiritual refuge would be a blessing…nope, I need to get out there into the nitty-gritty of the world.
The places where I have felt like I’ve been being drawn to, I feel, through my prayer, are the exact places where God is leading me and guiding me to go. Whether all this spiritual unrest the last few days and weeks was the work of God or devil doesn’t really matter, all I know is that if it was God he has achieved a heart in me that he wanted, and if it was the other, well he just isn’t going to win.
During Sundays service, the wise pastor of Promontory, told us this “Faith is confidence that God is who He says He is and that He will do everything He promises to do”. I agree. And I feel that. And I know that. And I love that. These years on Earth shall prepare me for my forever with God, and I hope that I can be the servant God requires on my time here. Let His will be done!
Happiness is listening to what God promises and giving yourself over to that promise, knowing that you are blessed.