God you are our everything. Bless your people everywhere.
Your people live in all the lands of the world: In places that are relatively safe and in lands that are terrorized: In places of prosperity and in places of famine: In living lives of excesses and also in living lives of extreme poverty.
But you O Lord Jesus are everything to everyone.
For in the land of darkness you are our light and in the land of light you only brighten our eyes. You are our protector in the land of safety and you watch over us in the land of terror. You only gladden us in prosperity and you nourish us in famine. You are our joy in bounty and you sustain us in poverty. In living we are marching to Zion, your blessed city; and in dying we are only drawing close to our eternal home.
You are our everything.
So continue to bless us your people, wherever you have placed us and in the portion that you have graciously allotted to us – even as we seek to live the mystery of you, Christ Jesus, living in us and we living in you.
Debates never cease. Can we do this? Are we right in doing that? Arguments fly according to each person’s opinion and stand. Hardly do we reach any conclusion or even a consensus. This is especially true for those issues that are not clearly addressed in the Bible. It is true that the scriptures do not speak conclusively on many areas and aspects that do relate to our life.
But then, Christian life is not supposed to be a static experience that has all easy answers. Christian life is about growth even as we worship our Lord God with more of wonder than understanding.
What the scriptures say conclusively should be taken as God’s revealed truth. We need the sense to accept God’s truth and obey rather than try to bypass.
Nevertheless, many problems are not resolved in mind and life. We seek holiness but are not making much progress. To facilitate progress we need to grow in two directions.
- Growing in the knowledge of our own depravity and brokenness. Many things that we do are plain shameful acts. There are so many things that just reflect our own weak and helpless and broken state. Growth in this understanding should ideally make us humble, dependent all the more on the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
- Growing in the knowledge of God’s holiness. It is simply true that the best in us or from us will fall short of the holiness of God.
So, it is so much better to remain silent. Not a purposeless, passive silence – but an active, God seeking, ‘God’s holiness experiencing’ silence, so full of passion and desire to love God and be like Him. It is a silence that bears witness to both the unutterable holiness of God and also the unutterable passion of God’s elect to be holy like God in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
The bride in the ‘Song of Solomon’ describes herself as ‘black and beautiful’ in verse 6 of chapter 1. She explains her dark skin as the result of being made to work in the sun, in the vineyards.
Here the colour – black – assumes a meaning of hard work, of endurance against the harsh elements of nature. Her own siblings were unfavourable to her as they dealt harshly with her. And the effect of all that hardship could not be undone.
But then, she is beautiful. And she is drawn by the king into his chambers.
There is a movement in the body of Christ of discerning and hard-working people – who are enduring great hardships and strain, often being ill treated by their brothers and sisters in the faith community. All these toil and hardships leave their marks and scars on them (though not for eternity, except the rewards). They are the wise virgins who are received by the bridegroom into His chamber from among those who are left behind.
The words of the bridegroom are sure – “For those who want to preserve their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
This is a call for God’s mission.
We live in a world of instant gratification. We keep on seeking greater and greater speed – both for the sake of thrill and also because waiting is becoming increasingly difficult. We feel, or at least we try to convince ourselves, that it is all for gain, advantage, growth.
However, this attitude seems to be eroding a great deal from our lives. It is possible that after all the races and the wins we may end up a loser. We may have all the right information, latest gadgets, best of positions, great wealth, but then also realize that – nothing satisfies.
The Word of God calls us for patient endurance (Rev 1:9). It is a big waiting game. We are called to wait in anticipation for God’s intervention in specific situations even when God is there with us all the time. We wait for circumstances to change. But as we wait, we find that circumstances are not so important after all. God is important: And God alone matters.
We share in Jesus Christ with all the saints who have ever lived on the face of the earth and who are alive today and who will come after us – persecution, kingdom, patient endurance.
This is our call. This is our lot.