I was supposed to sleep in this morning, to give my body a bit of rest after the work I’ve done this week, but it’s 08:22 and I’ve been working for half an hour already. My days are different than a few years ago working from 07:00- 17:00 in the greenhouse, that’s for sure.
In light of what’s been going on in our world recently, and mainly from my perspective- the hatred towards our governments, (Canadians and Americans, I’m looking at you) and my heart has been quite restless. I can understand disagreements, opposition, even, from people who don’t yet know Christ, but really, what’s the excuse for the rest of us? I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night thinking of the fear and anger that hovers over my home land, over our American neighbours, and it frightens me. I’m not afraid because of what might happen, I’m afraid of what is happening in the body of Christ.
Evert and I have been listening to some different sermons online, in our own time, and comparing our understandings with each other when we call in the evenings. (So sappy and lovey for two soon-to-be-newlyweds, I know.) Somehow the preaching coming out of America is all about politics right now- surprise surprise. And I for one am glad someone is saying something. There’s nothing worse than observing the cultural climate around you and being silent. I’ve learned that the absence of words is just as painful as the provision of the wrong words. As we’ve been listening to these sermons, one thing boldly stood out to me, and that’s Paul’s admonishment to Timothy,
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people” 1 Timothy 2:1 (emphasis mine)
What I noticed immediately, was that the first thing Paul instructs Timothy to do is pray. Usually what comes first in Biblical instruction is what’s most important, so we as readers and doers of the Word need to pay attention to that.
The pastor went on to recognize that he often hears others praying for their leadership like this, “Lord, send your judgement on ____” “Father, bring your justice to him, as he is wicked and unjust.” “Lord, save our nation from ___.”
I hear no thanksgiving for that person in those prayers.
I hear no request for support, I hear no humility in those prayers, I hear no pleading on their behalf, but rather against their behalf.
I quickly looked the verse up, and found this small commentary about the verse. I’m telling you where I found it because 1) I don’t want you to think I spent hours searching and studying this, and 2) I want you to be able to do it for yourself. The Bible is beautiful and messy and hard to grasp, but it’s possible, and there are tools out there to help you.
2:1-7 The disciples of Christ must be praying people; all, without distinction of nation, sect, rank, or party. Our duty as Christians, is summed up in two words; godliness, that is, the right worshipping of God; and honesty, that is, good conduct toward all men. These must go together: we are not truly honest, if we are not godly, and do not render to God his due; and we are not truly godly, if not honest. What is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, we should abound in. There is one Mediator, and that Mediator gave himself a ransom for all. And this appointment has been made for the benefit of the Jews and the Gentiles of every nation; that all who are willing may come in this way, to the mercy-seat of a pardoning God, to seek reconciliation with him. Sin had made a quarrel between us and God; Jesus Christ is the Mediator who makes peace. He is a ransom that was to be known in due time. In the Old Testament times, his sufferings, and the glory that should follow, were spoken of as things to be revealed in the last times. Those who are saved must come to the knowledge of the truth, for that is God’s appointed way to save sinners: if we do not know the truth, we cannot be ruled by it.
We are the body of Christ, and He has given us an assignment first to pray for all men and women. And by that I mean pray for them, not against them. It’s tempting to believe that we know what the will of God is for each man, but honestly– often I don’t know what His will is for me, so how could I begin to know His will for someone else? Especially someone I’ve never met before.
And I know I’m saying this all from the “comforts of Europe”, that I’m not living in those countries, being taxed, being suppressed, being ignored and silenced. Can I say something? That sucks, and it sucks that it’s happening to you. But let me also remind you, if you have the Spirit of Christ in you, these things shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. The government is not our saviour, and when they push us down, we fight in the opposite reaction, as Jesus showed us time and time again by His life. A perfect life is not achieved here, and we’re all guilty of forgetting that, but let’s go back to that first and most important command, to love the Lord with all we have, and to love our neighbour. (And let’s not start asking the question: well, who’s my neighbour then? I think that’s been done before..)
Let’s be people who bless.
Let’s be people who encourage.
Let’s be people who are not swayed by the circumstances around them.
Let us speak blessings when everyone around us speaks curses.
Let us be peacemakers in a world searching for a fight.
Let us encourage, let us forgive, let us give thanks in all circumstances, let us love.
Let us be people who love.
I want to be someone who loves.
With Strength that is not my own, Samantha