You kneel one night and say your prayers, and you think you know what trouble is; the next night, you realize you had no idea what trouble is. What a difference twenty-four hours makes – leaving aside the inundation of local and world news. Suddenly, family and friends, for whom I bless God, need suits of armor I don’t know how to forge. And just as fast, I, who thought I was growing up a bit in the Christian life, see how immature I am, stunned that:
- An unexpected summer storm destroys weeks of work to build an outdoor pavilion so that a church can be more hospitable in the community.
- A routine medical checkup leads to unexpected tests – tests, that may reveal a serious underlying health issue.
- A child takes another step away from the Christian faith.
- A Christian sues another Christian.
Then there is the usual daily dose of the larger world:
“. . . wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.” (Matthew 24:6-7)
And this is just the beginning.
Who are you God, the one to Whom I pray at night – the one to Whom I should entrust everything, and not just what I can’t cope with?
Gentle Shepherd – Mighty God, my fellow sheep and I are wandering, and there is a storm coming – a storm from which we have no shelter save You. We thought we knew the way, but we are wrong – and we are lost. The shadows are overtaking us, and I am afraid.
I am afraid because I know I often have done wrong and I have not chosen the right I could have chosen. For all the progress I think I am making, I wonder if I am not going backwards?
I am afraid because when I look at my fellow sheep I often see the same fears and failures. When I look at those who shepherd, I see some have stumbled, others are flat-out tired from herding us, and a few are hurting us.
Help us God. Help all the leaders of this world cope rightly with the facts of life and death. Help those who got a heavy helping of life that seems to overflow their plates. Help me pray for them, and serve them – because I do not know what to do.
Maybe that’s where I should be? (Psalm 46:10; Romans 8:26)