You’ve been posting a lot of stuff on Facebook lately about what’s going on politically in America. And if you’re sharing articles or lengthy posts, I want you to know I’m reading them.
I read what you share about guns and the gorilla. About immigrants and refugees. I read about Target bathrooms. About Obama and Trump and Hilary and Bernie. I read about who your pastor or Bible study author or favorite talk show host is supporting for president and why.
I read your careful exegeses and your Bible verses plucked out of their context and applied haphazardly to an entirely different situation.
And I’ve been thinking a LOT about all these things you’ve shared.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you know that I don’t really take a firm stance on much. I don’t care whether or not you breastfeed your kids, or teach them about Santa, or let them read Harry Potter. I didn’t come out publicly in support of a candidate for the 2012 elections, and I probably won’t do it for the 2016 elections either.
Lately, I’ve been questioning why I do that. Mostly, I like to believe that it’s wisdom and self control that keep me from entangling myself in those arguments.
There’s also a good chance that fear stands in my way. I don’t want to alienate or upset anyone. Truth be told, I want you to like me and what I have to say.
But as to why I don’t share my opinions on these divisive issues, the most likely reason of all may be this: I don’t have the answers.
I don’t know what the next president will face between 2017 and 2020, or how each candidate will respond. I don’t know when the Supreme Court will have empty seats that need to be filled. I don’t how the American church would respond under persecution, whether we would shrivel and wilt, or come out of the fire tested and pure and strong. I don’t know what will speak more deeply to the hearts of my friends who need Jesus: my compassion or my righteousness, though I pray I have both.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
Neither do you.
But I know the One who does.
Why aren’t we going to Him for the answers?
I know it’s hard. My tendency is rely on my wisdom and abilities, and closing our church has shaken me up and shown me all over again how small my trust and faith in my God is. I want to know right now what job He is going to provide for us. Where we will be living in 3 months. Where we will be going to church. Whether or not we will be able to afford for me to stay at home for another year.
And some days it feels like not knowing those things is going to kill me.
It won’t, of course. But it is breaking me. Remaking me into someone new. Someone who trusts God more deeply. Someone who is willing to be led by faith and not by sight.
And that is what the church must be in these trying times.
We must absolutely know our Bibles and how to study them for answers. Almost 2000 years ago, in a culture ruled by the Romans, and very much like ours, Paul wrote to the church at Colosse:
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and basic principles of this world rather than Christ” (Colossians 2:8)
But we must also be people of prayer.
To the church at Corinth, Paul said,
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
Like I said, I’m reading the things you share on Facebook, but every day, I grow a little more convinced that a well-written post on why to boycott Target or not is not what the church or the world needs from us.
I’ve seen tons of carefully crated arguments on the internet (and maybe this is just one more to add to that pile; if it is, forgive me), but what I haven’t seen is people saying that they sought the face of God, and the wisdom He promises to give to those who ask for it. I haven’t seen people saying, “I prayed about it for a long time, and I feel the Lord is leading me to __________.”
I don’t know your situation. I don’t know what decisions you will have to make today, this week, this year.
But I know that God will give you wisdom if you ask Him to.
Please ask him, friends.
Please, let’s get on our knees about our own specific situations, and ask God, beg him, to show us what He would have us do.
Let’s be people who are “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
Let’s be people of prayer.