PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE
I just watched one network’s morning show about the recent unrest in Barcelona, Spain. I listened intently for any message about turning to prayer. I didn’t hear one. One lady said of the attacks, “We just all huddled down and cried.” Am I naïve to wish that she had said, “We just all huddled down and prayed?”
The horribly gruesome scenes focused on the hate that caused these attacks, on the training of Isis through their 400 page Playbook (how odd is that title?), and on those who were seen as heroes in the aftermath of the attacks. I never heard God mentioned once.
The closest this network came to God, and yet leaving out his name, was a picture of a large group who had gathered for a “moment of silence.” I know all about the moment of silence. We were allowed to have that moment in my kindergarten class when I taught school. A moment was not enough then. It is not enough now. And a moment of silence without God is completely null and void.
What saddens me most about this morning’s newscast is that it is now apparently okay to leave God out of the equation. The newscasters seemed to search for any word to use other than “prayer.” Tiptoeing around this moment of silence only serves to eliminate the enormous need we all have to include God in our pain, to reach out for him in our hurt, and to place him at the center of our disappointment and frustrations.
Not that God won’t honor a moment of silence which references him, but that God knows better than all of us that a moment without honoring him is like casting our thoughts out into the ocean where they are swallowed up by the darkness of the deep sea.
While Christians sleep, Isis plans. While Christians continue to chase the god of success and money, terrorist groups learn the next strategy to eliminate those in opposition to them. While we gather in our groups to plan parties, attend social events and continue to lift our names high, our brother and sister Christians are being martyred.
And, about that 400-page playbook of instructions on how to hate: I have a Bible (and so do you) with more than 2,000 pages of instructions on how to love. Why, then, are they successful? Is there anything we can do?
We are all familiar with 2 Chronicles 7:14 which begins with, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
The challenges of this verse are several. Are we so prideful and built on our own success that we even know how to humble ourselves? Is humility so covered up with our own efforts to climb the ladder to success that we don’t even know its definition? Do we understand how to really seek his face and turn from our wicked ways? It will take a huge army of Christians joining together daily in sincere intercession for our country and for the world.
Admittedly, I don’t pray fervently enough for our country and our world. Sometimes I only take a moment. But if we all put our moments together and multiply them by many other moments, we can appeal for God to heal our land.
Therefore, please join me as we collect our moments together in a large, united effort for God’s healing in our land.
The Rev. B.J. Funk, associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald, has written a book with 50 devotionals on grief based on her personal experience. “Grief is not a Permanent Condition: 50 Devotionals to Help You Through the Grieving Process” points the reader to Jesus and the hope found in Him. Visit www.bjfunkgrief.com for more information and to order. Email Rev. Funk at firstname.lastname@example.org.