Posted by: bellissimanh | January 15, 2012

Praying… for them ALL.

Whew!

Ever have one of those times when the Lord is instructing you in a certain area, and you just can’t get away from it? Yeah… me, too.

My life over the last couple of years has been pretty challenging. It has seen some drastic changes, not the least of which involved shifting from a position of leadership in a thriving local body of believers to being ostracized and cast aside… not just from ministry, but from fellowship altogether. I tell you this not to point fingers of accusation or to garner your sympathy, but rather to explain the circumstances that set me in a position to hear from the Lord on some particular issues. I have been abandoned by those I considered not just friends, but family… and it has left a whole lot of hurt in its wake.

I confess that I have been harboring some bitterness and anger that would make even the wicked witch of the East cringe. But here’s the thing… every now and again I convince myself that I’ve forgiven… that I’m over it… that it doesn’t matter anymore. And then He speaks.

Strangely enough, it started with a conversation I had with an atheist friend of mine the other day. He thought it curious that some atheists seem to be filled with such hatred for Christians. He said it wasn’t logical… why should they care what others believe? He concluded that since hatred is a passionate emotion, on some level they MUST care.

It occurs to me that I keep insisting that the wounds I have suffered don’t sting anymore. That I’ve moved on. That I’m healed. That I don’t care and that they can’t hurt me anymore. And yet, still… these feelings of anger still find expression at times – even if I don’t speak the words aloud.

Yesterday I was meditating on the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians, and convicted by these words:

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.” (v. 2-4, italics mine)

It doesn’t say that Paul gave thanks (always, by the way) for the mature believers, or for the ones who brought him particular joy. No. He always gave thanks for them ALL. The Greek indicates that it means “all, without exception”. Hmmm. Certainly doesn’t describe MY prayer life over the last couple of years. It can only be accomplished through the power of the Spirit, but I have been indwelled by Christ Himself, so I have no excuse for disobedience in this thing. Prayerfully, I have to move forward in this… period.

So He speaks conviction… but that’s not all. Tomorrow I’ll share with you the gentle way He also spoke encouragement and grace to me this afternoon. Stay tuned… 🙂

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Responses

  1. Sounds like you have some immediate application stuff going on here. I totally understand that with what I mentioned last week about praying for the one who robbed me after studying about love and humility in the example of Jesus. As he lovingly washed the feet of his disciples whom he foreknew would betray, deny and abandon Him, I wonder how he prayed over each foot. Are we to do any less?

    Good stuff to ponder.

  2. Geezzzz…..leave me hanging. I wanted to keep reading what He said to you. Love you Heather!!

  3. Dawn – for sure! Application… it’s really the heart of it, isn’t it? We can “know” a whole lot of things, but if it doesn’t move us to action, it’s pointless. Thankful that He continues to prod me… and give me the grace necessary to accomplish what He asks of me.

    Anonymous — I love you too… whoever you are. 😉

  4. Heather, He just will not let us get stuck in our sin, will He? I love that about Him, yet at the same time, it is just plain HARD to walk on to victory sometimes. Praying He gently takes your hand and walks with you.

  5. I’m the atheist mentioned. Glad I could help. 🙂

  6. Leah – thankfully I don’t have to do it alone. Only by His Spirit!

    Love ya, Chris! I’m very thankful for the way our chats make me examine what I believe, and why. I enjoy exploring issues with you so much… you really make me think!


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