“There is … a time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.”
What a heart-wrenching week we’ve had. Yes? I took a week off Facebook, just needing some space. But it seemed that events unfolded faster that I could mentally keep up, and by the time I logged on again I saw many outraged status updates along the lines of, “Ok Christians: Now is the time to speak up!”
I can understand. But honestly? I didn’t know what to say. YES I stand with refugees. They’re people created in the image of God. YES I stand with the unborn. They are the most vulnerable, truly those who have no voice. There are so many things to stand with because we stand with JESUS. I clicked “like” on dozens of them, but I just can’t sum up my own complex heart-ache in a simple status update.
The truth is, I still don’t know what to say, at least not in an articulate “Here’s the way it should be” kind of way. I don’t have the foggiest idea what the magic bullet for foreign policy would be. I haven’t a clue how I would ever make sense of the incredible complexities at work in our world. I can barely figure out my 10-year-old! I guess I agree with Heidi who recently said, “Man, I would NEVER want to be the President. It’d be the hardest job in the world.”
What I do know is that Jesus tells us to pray for those who are persecuted, to not oppress the refugee, and to honor and pray for our governmental leaders. So that’s what I’ve been doing.
But the heaviness just felt unbearable. Finally on Saturday, I cancelled some plans, and took several hours to just sit with the Scriptures and plead with God to speak to my heart. In prayer I respectfully reminded Him that HE was the one who told me to vote for this president! This was His idea! And I poured out my heart along the lines of:
“God, I felt you lead me so clearly how to vote through our time of fasting. But now it feels confusing. I LOVE people, all people, your people, and want to extend your love to them. But here I am, a stay-at-home mom. I’m doing nothing heroic in this area. I have no refugees on my doorstep to love. I desperately just want to obey you and please you, not just in certain areas, but in every way. Please show me what to do.”
Then it came in my mind to turn to the Psalms, and there it was. Psalm 4.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah (Pause)
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
Ah. You know those times when the Scriptures leap off the page?! When it feels like God is speaking directly to your situation?! That was this. It might not be for you, but it seemed to say to me:
Be agitated, grieved, frustrated, confused. That’s ok. Those are human emotions that you feel in the midst of this broken world. But do not let these feelings cause you to sin. You can only control you. So above all, be mindful, and careful to keep far from sin, even in the quiet secret places of your heart. Above all else, keep your heart free from sin, which mars the image of God in you and always damages God’s work in this world.
Ponder all your thoughts, emotions, ideas — ponder them in your own heart. Be careful not to “share” every thought you have. Keep here, right on your bed, and ponder all these things in your own heart. And be silent. There is a time to be silent, and a time to speak. Things are not always as they seem, so be slow to speak, and slow to pass judgement.
And then, offer right sacrifices. You know the good you are to do, so do it. Give generously, even if no one sees or applauds. Do what is right even if no one knows. Don’t let your emotions and feelings keep you from personal worship. Do what you know is right.
And finally, and most importantly, PUT YOUR TRUST IN THE LORD. Do not put your trust in being right. Or being applauded. Or being understood. Or accepted. Put your trust in Me. I am the God of every refugee and the God of every unborn soul. No matter how crazy things look, keep trusting me.
And then, the very next day, our gracious God gave us a tangible way to live this out, and love. Maybe more on that later. But for now, perhaps this simple Psalm might encourage your heart as well, if you also feel all tangled up inside. Let’s pray. Let’s love. Let’s forgive. So much I don’t understand, but this I do.
On the journey with you. Thanks so much for reading.