Wow! 2020 is half-way done. I remember back in March, wondering if we would every get through this year. Funny how time doesn't stop for anything, not even a pandemic. It just keeps rolling along and we just keep getting older and older! This year has been a bit on the crazy side though. Just goes to show that even the best laid plans...and now here we are! July is soon to be over. School may or may not begin again. But August is coming nonetheless.
In the middle of all of this, as we grasp for wisdom and knowledge, hoping that time will stand still as we sort out everything going on in our minds, we hope that something would happen to bring a sense of unity through all the chaos. At least I have. Isn't it fun how we prayed that God would shake things up and bring about revival! We prayed that He does whatever He needs to so that we come back to Him, see souls saved and our hearts renewed. And now we pray that peace would come! God, hasn't it been enough already?!
Now I have been praying that something would present itself, that collectively we could get behind. Not necessarily the world, but rather the church. Doesn't that thought excite you?! The idea that something would bring the church back to unity and working harder than ever, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand. Obviously, masks are not this unifying force! Sorry that I went there. Maybe I'm not. Either way, this time that we are living in is very polarizing to say the least.
As I was on this prayer journey, asking and begging for an end to the madness, the Holy Spirit dropped a thought into my heart. A thought that is so simple, but convicting and haunting. I've prayed for something or someone to unify the church again and His gentle Spirit spoke to my heart and asked this question: "When did I stop being enough?"
Can we pause and take a breath for a second? A moment to re-group our thoughts, perhaps?
When did Jesus stop being enough for the church to unify around? Is He not enough for us to set aside our differences and remember why we were placed here? To share the gospel to a world that is DESPERATELY in need of Him. I'm meddling. Forgive me. D.A. Carson, in his book Love in Hard Places says this better than I can.
I suspect that one of the reasons why there are so many exhortations in the New Testament for Christians to love other Christians is because this is not an easy thing to do. Many fellow Christians will appear to be, at least initially or to the immature, “little enemies.” To put the matter differently, if Christians love Christians, it is not exactly the same thing as what Jesus has in mind when he speaks rather dismissively of tax collectors loving tax collectors and pagans loving pagans. What he means in these latter cases is that most people have their own little circle of “in” people, their own list of compatible people, their friends. Christian love…must go beyond that to include people outside the group. The objects of our love must include those who are not “in”: it must include enemies.
Ideally, however, the church itself is not made up of natural “friends.” It is made up of natural enemies. What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything of the sort. Christians come together, not because they form a natural collocation, but because they have been saved by Jesus Christ and owe him a common allegiance. In the light of this common allegiance, in light of the fact that they have all been loved by Jesus himself, they commit themselves to doing what he says – and he commands them to love one another. In this light, they are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’ sake.
So what now? I would only ask this one thing. Love as Christ loved. Show grace as He showed grace. "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)