With an avalanche of concerns cascading in my mind and heart, I needed a fresh word. I was reading a prayer expressed by a Puritan brother of the past. The verbs articulated my cry to the Lord:
“O Lord, Bring us into that state which attracts Your eye . . . Show us our danger that we may fly to You for refuge . . . Possess us with more faith which is the key to all vital godliness . . .”
In these troubling times, no matter how gifted or experienced we are in life, we must have the activity of our great God working in us and for us. That means we must learn to trust Him and trust our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We need Him and we need one another.
The culture war is too great, too large, too dark to go it alone. He created us for this moment in history to trust Him and obey Him and to work together to show the world there is a better way to live—the way of biblical godliness that exalts Him and demonstrates His compassion toward people beyond the mushy sentimentality of humanity.
For example, people who function from a worldly perspective in life devolve into practicing what Ezekiel found in the ancient world: people who said they belonged to God but practiced what was acceptable to the culture; namely, they prostituted themselves by sacrificing their own children on the altar of sensuality. “You even took your sons and daughters you bore to me and sacrificed them to these images as food . . You slaughtered my children and gave them up when you passed them through the fire (of sacrificed) to these images . . .” (Ezekiel 16, CSB).
We say, “Never here in these United States!”
Consider the ramifications of an article posted Aug. 19 on Baptist Press by Laura Erlanson about a boy, James. His divorced parents are at war in the civil courts over their son, who was three when the litigation started. The mother has custody of her son. She is convinced he is a transgendered person and is conditioning him by calling him a girl’s name, “Luna,” instead of James, in spite of his biological identification. The Dallas Morning News reported the mother, a pediatrician, plans to prescribe puberty blockers in a few years, that may irreversibly remove his reproductive capacity.
However, before we become too worked up over the insanity of such rebellion against the God who made us male and female, consider that during COVID-19 the number of children who have perished in the temples of promiscuity (abortion clinics) far exceeds the number of people who have perished from the pandemic. And most of us are silent.
“Woe unto us,” says the prophet. Our personal sin and our corporate sin is so wretched, it fills our streets with brokenness. Were it not for our holy God’s redemptive compassion, we would all perish. It is the grace of God within us that courageously pushes back the darkness and does the hard work of loving those broken by the world’s systems. It is the hope within us that trains a generation to think biblically about life and cares for those who are abandoned. It is the faithful lovers of God who attract the eye of the Lord, who live in the shadow of His wing, who live by faith as a verb, not an institution.
Part of being a person of faithfulness involves working together to accomplish big things in the name of the Lord. You do that every time you give to your church, which sends a portion of its mission dollars to the Cooperative Program (CP). Or should I say “through” the Cooperative Program. In the center of this issue of The Pathway, look at what your church gave through CP in the first half of this year.
Through CP, you ministered to a child that was rescued from sex trafficking. You provided a scholarship to a student attending one of our Southern Baptist seminaries or one of our Missouri Baptist universities. You helped a missionary who is stateside but continues, through technology, to equip church leaders at an international location. You helped MBC Disaster Relief prepare for a quick, equipped response to families wounded by a natural disaster. There is more . . .
The comprehensive list of what God’s people effectively, efficiently do together through the Cooperative Program could fill volumes. It is amazing what we can do together in Jesus’ name.
The darkness will not retreat by individualism. It takes a team—a team of faithful people who attract the eye of the Lord.