Sunday, March 2, 2014

Walking the long road of faith with God is hard enough.

Doubly hard is having to stand back while those you love—especially children, whether of the flesh or of the heart—learn to walk that perilous road for themselves.

There’s much we can do on behalf of another. Love, pray, encourage, pray some more ... sometimes they just need our silence, in which case we should pray all the harder.

Sometimes, all we can do is pray.

Wait, did I just say that?

All we can do—as if prayer is a last-ditch effort to change a situation. As if it’s only meant to prop up our own human, very fallible efforts to do anything.

Where do we get off thinking we can really do anything, anyway? Or that it’s our responsibility to save everyone we meet?

I’m not talking about the simple sharing of truth, whether in word or deed, that God commands a follower of Christ. “Go to all the world and preach the good news, and make [more] followers of Christ.” We’re all supposed to do that. What I mean is how we tend to take on ourselves the burden of seeing that our words bear fruit, that our lives really affect people. Like, once we’ve shared truth with those around us, it’s some measure of our success to see people’s lives change.

How Biblical is that expectation, really?

There was Jeremiah, who God said He’d “set...this day over nations and kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10, ESV) And yet, Jeremiah was one of the most persecuted, least listened-to prophets in all the Old Testament. How many converts did he make? We don’t have record of even one.

And yet, God went on to tell him, “I am watching over my word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:12, ESV)

Who is watching over God’s word to make sure it does what it should? God Himself. The all-powerful Creator of the universe.

Kind of silly to think He needs our efforts to shore up His, isn’t it?

Prayer, then, shouldn’t be a last resort. It’s our direct line to the awesome King of all kings, our secret weapon to pull out, not when everything else has failed, but first thing—and at every step we take thereafter.

What can we do for those learning to walk that journey of faith on their own? Pray, and pray some more. Speak only when and if God leads us to. And cover it all with—you guessed it—prayer.

 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3, NKJV)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God... (Philippians 4, NKJV)


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