Tests. No, not the academic type that you can study and prepare for but the “James chapter 1 verse 3” type: “…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” The thing about the life of faith is that you don’t get to choose what type of test God will give you. I want to share with you how God has tested our fellowship of believers the past year.
The English author C.S. Lewis wrote,
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks
in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
It has been a tough week. We are witnessing before our eyes the humbling of the fourth largest city in the United States. The images we are seeing on our televisions are real. They are difficult to watch because they are people like you and me who are losing everything, literally everything. Furniture, clothing, televisions, cars, precious memories like family pictures, and in some very heart-breaking way are losing their loved ones.
Near where I live, many people have lost their homes and all their belongings in the fires of Western Canada. Through no fault of their own, they were forced to evacuate their homes without notice. Their lives will carry these moments for many years.
What do we do in times like this? I am reminded of the description of Jesus Christ as he witnessed the helplessness of those who are described as “harassed and helpless”, that he did NOT berate them for being in that position. Nor did he call them out for the evilness of their hearts. Here is what we read about our Saviour, “he had compassion for them.” (Matthew 9:36)
His compassion was a result of seeing the condition of their heart. They are described by Matthew as being “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” The predicament they were in describes them as people who were in some sense being taken advantage of through no fault of their own. The response of our Lord is so unlike us. We want to find someone to blame! Someone’s head had to roll because of the mess these people were in. But Jesus does not go there.
What Jesus does do it absolutely amazing! Here is the Son of God with all the power to change the circumstances of these helpless and harassed people. What does he do? He turns to his followers and tells them to pray. What should they pray about? Pray that God would send people to relieve these hurting folks of their difficulty. I find that fascinating. Don’t you?
The “megaphone” of God in the suffering of these dear folks in Houston has as its response, that God’s people pray that He would send compassionate people to help, people who would give if they cannot go and people who will pray. There are so many agencies that are reaching out right now like Samaritan’s Purse, who are sending chaplains as well as sending physical aid to assist Houston’s hurting people.
God now has our attention! He is moving us to action. Let’s not sit this one out but actively pray, give and if possible, go!
It would cause shivers to go through every member of the class.! Yes, it was that day again called “Oral Defense”. That fateful day when the professor would ask you to stand and begin to fire questions at you about the material that had recently been covered in class. No notes were allowed, one just had to count on his/her ability to recall the information in a second! We would not know when that day was going to come, we needed to be ready.