by Dr. Brad Strait, CCPC Lead Pastor

Fraying?

America is coming apart again, it seems, at the seams. At least that what the news channels say. Politics and race and economics and power and pandemics collide in a perfect storm. Instead of coming together in the chill night gale, we strike out at others so that we can better tug at the blankets for ourselves and our tribe. We grab corners, and try to rip the cloth from white-knuckled hands. Fear and anger. We reap what we sow. Attack politics are bearing crops–and it’s poison ivy and hemlock, not fruit. There seems to be lots of anger and lots of fear on all sides.

It is not the first time. It will not be the last, most likely. Jesus gives a bottom-line promise: “In this world you will have troubles…”

Graciously, Jesus continues: “…But take heart. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). For Christians, security is not about where or what. It is not about a lack of storms, or a world free from evil. It is not about a fabric which never tears. Security is about Whom. Understanding that God is sufficient for all the struggles we face gives us security. Jesus has overcome the world.

Security is about Whom. At Valley Forge, with the Continental Army under his command hungry and battered, George Washington  penned a  note, asking a chaplain to lead a prayer service for he and the men. He wrote, “It will ever be the first wish of my heart to aid your pious endeavors to inculcate a due sense of the dependence we ought to place in that all-wise and powerful Being, on whom alone our success depends.”

Security is about Whom. Following the Union Army’s devastating loss at the Second Battle of Bull Run in August of 1862, the Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks record Abraham Lincoln saying the following about prayer: “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”

Security is about Whom. On June 6, 1944, on live radio, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked his fellow citizens to join him in prayer as American troops were landing in Normandy, crossing a quarter mile of open beach under heavy Nazi fire. In one of the largest mass prayers in history, he prayed: “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.”

Security is about Whom. In the universe’s greatest battle against evil, our Commander-in-Chief turned to his Father for security. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” The seams of the world are regularly frayed by the warfare of the human heart. It is not a new thing. Troubles come, and troubles go. The world has been here before, and survived. All day and all night, God remains in his vigil over those he loves. Rescue was planned long ago, and is coming. Again and again. Jesus grants us rescue. We play a part, yes. We lover mercy, show justice, and walk humbly with our God. But the cavalry coming over the hill is the armies of heaven, and it has but one lead rider, complete and sufficient: our Lord, Jesus.

gray metal frame

“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” (Isaiah 54:16-17)

Peter reminds the first century Christians—who were under great pressure and persecution, and watching their world unravel—that suffering and distress are temporary states. To encourage them to have perspective and faith on the wild ride called human depravity, he writes:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:3-8)

Driven to Our Knees

Lord of my heart, 

Give me vision to inspire me, that working or resting,

I may always think of You.

Lord of my heart,

give me light to guide me, that, at home or abroad,

I may always walk in Your way.

Lord of my heart,

give me a deeper trust in you, when waters and winds rise.

Lord of my heart,

give me your Presence, a clear sign I am never really at risk.

Lord of my heart,

give me enough strenth to walk through every night. 

(adapted from Celtic Daily Prayer)


A daily blog that gives insight and encouragement into this troubling season of Social Distancing due to Covid-19.
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