Lord, help me!

Gerard Baker writes in the Wall Street Journal about the perspectives that keep Americans yelling at each other across deep divides. “In our hyperpartisan, post-truth, fit-any-fact-to-your-narrative world, everything is a Rorschach test. Trump partisans can behold an election result they don’t like and see nothing but fraud, conspiracy and theft. Democrats can look at two sets of riotous mobs and see treason and insurrection in one and peaceful protest and urgent cries for justice in the other.”   The constant scream that is our public discourse these days heightens my anxiety and, I confess, drags me into the anger too often.  

Christ, my King, calls me to peace, invites me to live without fear. But, too often, I don’t!  In my prayer before falling asleep last night I asked Him to help me, to teach me how to live centered in the serenity that is part of my birthright as a child of God. Yes, I know, some of you might be saying, “Jerry, just turn off the news.”  Sometimes that is the best choice. A constant diet of MSNBC, CNN, or FOXNEWS will leave the soul in an awful state. However, real peace is not found in ignoring the world around us. That’s called ‘escapism.’ Sooner or later, we have to deal with reality.

The Holy Spirit can change me so that I can live as a godly man in the middle of the ‘war’ bearing witness to the Light of Life, the Prince of Peace, the Living Word, the Way, the Truth. I know this. Why don’t I do better?

The first thing I must do, repeatedly, is remind myself of who I am and what is my true identity. The Word tells me that I am ‘in Christ.’ “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV)  God loves me, invites me to trust Him, and makes me His own.  My politics, the government that issues my passport, the amount of my financial resources, the color of my skin … none of these things are my primary identity.  I am defined by being ‘in Christ!’

When we know this, confirming it with faith, there is a promise that God makes: “Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:30-35, NIV) Strife, politics, COVID19, and that ‘other’ party (whatever your convictions) are not greater than God’s love for me.

I have started to go to sleep with the words of the Shepherd’s Psalm on my lips, speaking those ancient words of hope aloud, a confession of my faith.  

From the start, there is hope.  “The Lord is MY Shepherd.”  He knows ME (you, too) and cares for ME providing me (and YOU) with ‘green pastures and still waters,’ a way of saying a place to live with fullness and serenity. Those words are not just pretty poetry. They are truth for life.

What is the greatest fear of most people? Death!  But, the Words says that those who let the Shepherd lead can be at peace even when walking through ‘the valley of the shadow of death.’  Ponder that! Where no one can travel with us, He is there. 

These days there is one more phrase that captivates me.  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (Psalm 23:5, NIV) This truth, I pray, will keep me from descending into the pits of anger and strife. It is such a curious image that David is inspired to create for us. Let me paraphrase it: “You invite me to sit down to dinner in the middle of the battle.”  

Dinnertime, for our family, was the high point of the day. When we gathered to our table, to share a meal, there was much more than just eating going on. There we shared our lives, renewed our bonds to one another, laughed, cried, talked about our day, and got up with a full heart as well as a full belly. Talk to my children who are now in mid-life and they will reminisce about those ‘dinner table talks.’

Our Father invites us to pull up a chair and commune with Him despite the noise and fury of life’s battle. Struggling with temptation? Feeling overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the future? Lost your peace, angry, ready to let loose on those you around you?  Having difficulty holding onto faith?  He says, “Let’s talk about it.”   

The word from the Word is an invitation. I am confessing this word, asking for deeper faith that is anchored in my true Hope. How about you? 

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)  “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain, by means of his death for us. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him.” (Hebrews 10:19-22, NLT)  Amen!

______________

Way Maker

(Let this song move you to worship and praise for God’s preparations)

You are here moving in our midst
I worship You I worship You
You are here working in this place
I worship You I worship You
Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper,
Light in the darkness, my God that is who You are

You are here touching ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You
You are here healing ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You

You are here turning lives around
I worship You I worship You
You are here mending ev’ry heart
I worship You yeah I worship You Lord
That is who You are

That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are

Even when I don’t see it You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it You’re working
You never stop You never stop working
You never stop You never stop working

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu © 2016 Integrity Music Europe (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook]))

CCLI License # 810055

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s