Thursday, July 19, 2018

Service + God's Hand = Blessing

It hardly seems a day goes by anymore without some tragedy being reported on the evening news of a man or woman bent on harming others by some means of gunfire or violent outburst. The news is filled with these stories of a world in chaos. Maybe not all of the news is 'human caused' events, as even nature seems to be joining in the chaos with volcano eruptions, massive wildfires, and consuming floods. Do we daily lift our leaders before the Lord, asking him to give them wisdom in their decisions? I know that I am not one of those that "regularly" prays for our country's leadership - I almost have to be reminded of the issues, then I remember to pray! Do we daily lift those who have to face hardship after hardship, finding ways to bring them some relief if at all possible? Do we casually say, "I'll pray for you," all the while knowing we will forget about the need just about as soon as that individual is out of our line of sight?

2 When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it—but it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.... 9 God has no use for the prayers of the people who won't listen to him. (Proverbs 28:2, 9)

Well, if you have been taking a really long nap, you probably don't realize that this fits us to a tee! We are a country in chaos - and it seems that everybody has a plan to fix what they view as "wrong with America". I imagine it is like that just about everywhere right now - Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Mexico - the list could go on and on. People are unhappy, needs are not being met, jobs are not panning out, the spiritual health of nations are in states of unrest, and even 'nature' seems to be bringing no relief from the mounting stress upon mounting economic doom. What's the remedy? Simply put, it is that we have an obligation to be a light in a very dark world - each one of us is to be sensitive to the needs that exist and then to find ways to meet them. We have opportunities to affect the course of our nation's crisis - through our prayers and through our witness - but also through our actions. 

I may not know how to pray for all the intricate details of each person's issues right now, but I do know how to pray for my next door neighbor and the gal in the cubicle next to me at work. That is where revival in our country begins - each one of us, stepping up to lift up those individuals God brings into our paths and finding ways to be a blessing in their lives. As we do this, he enlarges our influence. This past weekend, with mom being home from the hospital about one week, my BFF found a way to bless her - with freshly baked banana nut bread. That loaf of bread lit up her heart, and it filled her belly with awesome goodness! It was a simple act, but one that meant so much. The ways we become a blessing don't have to be grandiose - they just have to be done in love!

Even if we are not burdened by a "nation in crisis" right now, we should be burdened by a neighbor in crisis. We may not be the leader of a nation, but we are a "leader" in our sphere of influence. Let's ask God to give us real understanding as it applies to those we have the ability to influence - those whose lives need just a little bit of kindness and love shown to them in a world that seems rather chaotic and challenging to them at the moment. You never really know how God will take the lives of those individuals we have touched in simple acts of obedient service and use those lives to influence others. The results can be astronomical when service is directed by the hand of God. Some days that service may be in the form of a heartfelt prayer - others may be finding ways to touch their lives in very tangible ways. Just sayin!