I must admit, there has been significantly more on my mind in recent times than there has been in many years. If it were possible to sum up the thoughts to have occurred during the past three weeks, it would take much longer than three weeks to explain them in proper detail. I’ve attempted many blogs in failed efforts to release some of the questions that have been racing through the course of my mind. However, there has been very little peace, as there have been very few conclusions; only open, gaping holes in the firm foundations of what I once believed to be concrete reality. Bombs take little consideration for the innocent victims surrounding their targets.
Were I able to identify the beginning of these thoughts, I would most certainly start there. However, I have not been afforded that luxury in this most recent battle of my mind. The bombs have gone off and I’ve done my best to sort through the pieces of truth, both consciously-forced efforts and the concrete elements that have withstood the test of time. What is reality?
There was a conversation I had with somebody very near and dear to my heart – this, being the most appropriate beginning I can think of – where this cracking of the iceberg began and I began to realize I had but a short amount of time to pick a side to be standing on. This becomes very critical when you realize one side is connected to land, with the other a watery grave. If only life were that simple. During this conversation, I began to verbally display several options that were ahead in my path. There came to a point where I disagreed with the feasibility of one path, and the loved individual stated I should simply “just pray” about pursuing this option. When stating the factual reason for my refusal to choose this path, with the open-ended question that begged the individual to also use logic and reason to share my conclusion, she mentally shirked from her duty to employ reason and blurted out “Just…pray. Just…pray.”
All of the sudden, life got so much more complicated.
See, it was in this moment that I realized a majority of my childhood had been devoted to the practice of embarking on poor choices and utilizing prayer as the protective barrier against perceived, natural objections to the elements of life. Don’t get me wrong, please. I am well aware that David slew Goliath when the odds stated a different outcome. However, David spent time killing his lions and bears before embarking on this human freak of nature. It would have been pure stupidity for David to have stepped into the valley if he hadn’t disciplined himself in the art of stone throwing and the ability to violently take down wild animals. This is where my internal struggle has begun, asking the question:
“What differentiates the line between righteous faith/prayer and our responsibility to engage in action?”
Are we to foolishly jump into battles we shouldn’t be fighting, confident that we have simply prayed about it? To peel back a layer, this would be questioning whether or not God stretches out His divine hand to act on our behalf every time we call to Him in prayer. While this notion sounds good in theory, I cannot believe it to be practical or even possible that God would present us with endless “life bailouts” if we are not being responsible with what we have been given. I was led to pray for provision and financial means, rather than to work intelligently for it. There was no separation between work and divine provision, in that everything was seemingly put into the hand of the divine. Allow me to explain..
James 1:17 states that “Every good and perfect gift comes from your Father above, with whom there is no variance.” According to this statement, all that is good must come from our Heavenly Father. However, I would like to join this verse with the parable of the master who left his three servants behind, with different measures of money to invest. All received something from the Good Master, but it was their responsibility to do something with what they were given and were not given a lifeline to have intervention from their Master until He returned! Do you see the connection here?
While I certainly do not question the notion of divine intervention, I believe we have forgotten a very important concept. Without being deemed as a heretic to charismatic culture, I believe that our lives are more than simply our free will that is coasted by Divine acts of intervention. Instead, I believe that life is a very complex mechanism that has been set in motion, and will continue to move in its motion without ultra-regular divine interventions. Similar to a stone thrown into the water, our actions in life have ripples that move as we do. It is certainly commanded to thank God for financial prosperity, but it is equally important and critical that we, ourselves, put to work the hands and minds that He has given us. It would be hypocritical to pray and beg the Creator for financial prosperity if we are not willing to work for it. Yet, how often is this idea pushed forward in the modern day church?
Let’s pull back the lens a little bit. If we are to examine our lives, are our actions being consistent with the prayers we pray? Gideon hardly the warrior fit for battle. However, he was obedient to God’s instruction and He got out of his bed to do battle! How often are we asking God to do something without any intention of providing reciprocated action on our parts? We pray for the souls of others to be claimed while shirking our duty to share His love with them. We pray for financial prosperity while shirking the duty to work hard in order to obtain it. We pray for a perfect husband/wife while neglecting our responsibility to step up to the plate as human beings. The shirking must end.
To God be all Glory, Honor, Might, and Majesty! If we are to give Him all praise and all honor, we must also be willing to do all on our end as well!
The universe is ticking. Can you hear it?
There will be much more.