It’s no secret that today is Remembrance Day. We remember the end of the First World War and, more importantly, those who died in it. Lest We Forget.
I was listening on the radio to Peter Hitchens, the renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens’ brother; the difference is that Peter is a committed Christian. Peter was explaining eloquently the impact of the wars on the Christian faith of all of Europe. Obviously everyone thought God was with them, when clearly, if winning the war was the criterion, God was not with them all. 1 Samuel 4 today sees Israel heading out to war, for no particular reason it seems, expecting God to be with them.
What do you expect from God when you ask?
I found the introduction to the Open Doors Prayer Diary compelling. I quote from the Egyptian pastor writing there: “If you pray for us, you will pray for the wrong things. You will pray for the church to be safe. You will pray for the persecution to cease. We are not praying for these things. We ask that …… when the inevitable persecution comes we will be faithful, even if it costs us our lives. Will you tell your friends to pray these prayer with us?”
So much of our lives is seeking our ease and an easy way out. This message asks not for a way out but, in and through the resurrection of Christ, to find a way through.
Our eldest grandson, Ari, who is 5, has a very special relationship with his grandma, He has been behaving erratically lately; he is sad and then he just lashes out and dissolves into tears. His mum had a chat to him and said, “You seem sad and angry these days, what is happening for you?”
Ari responded by saying that he is sad because he misses his grandma. He used to do so many things with her. He finished by saying, “I miss her because I just love her!”
When I heard that I just dissolved. Ring Qantas! Buy a ticket! Get her over there!
But no. This is not God’s way. I want to find a way out – for Ari, for grandma, and probably mostly for me. I want a way out. But here is the thing. If Ari is to grow up to be a resilient, compassionate, emotionally-attuned young man, he has to go through his sadness. He has to find a way through. And he has to find a way that doesn’t involve lashing out and and being destructive.
Dear Jesus, for those of us who need you now, more than ever, please, in your mercy help us to reflect on our circumstance and how we are handling it.
Reassure us of you love, power and resource.
Help me to look at the situation with fresh eyes. Help me to seek you as, together, we look for a way through this season.
Be our certainty when everything else seems adrift.