This post has been a long time coming. Much has happened that I long to share with you, but finding words will not be an easy task.
My heart aches to hear of the tragedies unfolding around us… most recently the bombs that tore through Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon this afternoon. Reports continue flooding in as I write this, but I turned them off hours ago. Seeing more graphic pictures or hearing the increasing number of casualties will not make me pray more effectively – they will mostly likely distract me from praying all together. The enemy wants believers to sit in silent awe and horror rather than falling on our faces crying out to our Father, pleading on behalf of this broken world. I refuse to oblige him this time.
I recently returned from a trip to Israel, where I saw first-hand the struggle taking place there… though I saw only a shielded glimpse at best. I realized my own blindness regarding the situation. The Spirit within me cried out (and still does) for those on both sides of the conflict. I yearn for them to know the truth of Christ – only He can redeem the situation. He alone is the Prince of Peace. I told my friend tonight that I left a piece of my heart there. My prayers look different now. I understand Scripture at a deeper level. The girl I was a month ago remains, but she has grown and matured in many ways.
These two issues weigh the heaviest on my heart and mind right now, but the list is by no means complete. Personal pains and struggles are real – in my own life, the lives of those I love, the lives of those I’ve never met. I cannot discuss them all right now, but the actual cancer behind all these symptoms is sin.
Since moving overseas, my sinfulness daily shows itself in excruciatingly hideous fashion. I see the depth of my depravity more clearly now, and I know I’ve yet to even scratch the surface. The accuser taunts and ridicules me. He condemns me – and rightly so more often than not. My failures know no bounds, but God’s love and forgiveness cover them all. In Zechariah 3, the accuser stood ready to plead his case against Joshua. But the Judge silenced and rebuked him before he ever uttered a word. Then Joshua’s filthy garments (his iniquities) were removed and replaced with pure ones. The enemy’s words and attacks fall puny and powerless to the floor in the presence of the Almighty God.
When sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden, death entered with it. Today we all daily choose sin over obedience. We live in a broken world that groans for restoration. My heart groans with it. Never before have I clung to Christ’s promise in Revelation 22:17 that He is coming soon! Never before have I so often prayed with the Apostle John, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Yet I know that 2 Peter 3:9 holds another beautiful promise – Christ has not yet returned because lost people are still turning to Him with repentant hearts, trusting Him as their Lord and Savior. Christ’s patience now provides opportunities for more people to enter His presence and dwell with Him for all eternity. But make no mistake, He will return. He will restore all things. Judgment will come and His wrath awaits the unrepentant.
Multiple times throughout the last few weeks, I have asked God, “Where is the hope? Why did ____ have to happen? Why is _____ going on? Is there really hope?” Each time I have asked these questions He has reminded me that He is in control. He is reigning on His throne. Christ is ALIVE! Because these things are true, there is ALWAYS hope – even in our darkest hour.