Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Prayer for strength in times of intolerance

God forgive me, for I am an intolerant and impatient person.

I don’t mean “tolerance” as the “world” means it - as accepting of all religions and all (supposed) ways to You; for there is only One Way. That’s not intolerance, that’s Gospel.

No, I am intolerant and impatient at times in dealing with “people” in general. Yes, it most often comes when I’m tired, or have a headache, or stressed, but that is no excuse; for they are your children, too.

“But,” my “self” says, “they aren’t acting like, talking like, living like, loving like, God’s children…”

Well, neither am I at this point, I confess…

It’s just, Lord; I get so tired of people. I’m tired of the cars that cut me off, the grocery carts that cut me off, and the individuals who cut me off, who only hear what they want to hear, and not what I’m really saying.

I’m tired of recorded phone calls, where the automatic messenger jumps right into his discourse before I can even register who is calling. (Does anyone really ever listen to the whole thing?)

But mostly, Lord; I’m tired of carrying this weight - this weight of “always doing the ‘right’ thing.”

“Discernment” is a double-edged sword. It allows me to “see”; but it also “makes” me see… I see what I “ought” to be doing. I see what “ought” to be achieved. I see what “ought” to be said…

I see what is the “right” thing to do, and I don’t always want to do it.

Sometimes I feel like Elijah - that I’m the oooonly person left who loves You; that I’m the oooonly person who truly serves You; that I’m the oooonly person who cares… and I only want to run and hide (as he did.)

Come to me, Lord, as You did to him. He looked for You in the fire, as You spoke to Moses, but You weren’t there. He looked for You in the wind, as You were with the Israelites, but You weren’t there. He looked for You in the earthquake, as You were with Job, but You weren’t there, either.

You came to him in a still, small voice - just exactly the way Elijah needed to meet you at that moment. And now, come to me Lord, in just exactly the way I need to hear you, and meet you, at this moment.

Speak to my soul; tell me (again) not to “grow weary in well doing.” Tell me (again) that You never promised it would be easy, but that You would be with me. Tell me (again) that You love me, and it’s not my always doing the right thing that makes You love me. It’s not my “works (lest any man should boast…”) It is purely Your Love and Your Grace.

God, You’ve given me this “double edged sword” of discernment. Now, I pray, grant me strength, wisdom, and grace to carry it.

In Jesus’ name (in Jesus’ authority I bow) Amen.

The rest of the story...

About an hour after I posted this, I went to work and flipped on the radio. Chuck Swindoll was preaching on "living in a hostile world." And God did, indeed, speak to me, exactly how I needed to hear Him...

Praise Him for His wonderful Word!


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