I hear from many who have given up on the church and many have given up on God. It breaks my heart.
Today I met an old friend and my heart ached as he shared the pain of a child who is making horrible decisions. I reflected on that news as I walked with dog friend Hannah. A song by Diamond Rio was one of the first to play on the iPod shuffle.
The title? God is there.
Carrying the weight of the world
God is there
Where you think he won't come to
That's where he'll be waiting for you
God is there
I believe that with all of my heart. But we have a role in His plan. God uses you and me to be His arms and legs on this planet as well. I keep thinking about the slogan that the Salvation Army has on their website.
“We combat natural disasters with Acts of God”
I love that thought. We as the body of Christ commit “acts of God” by loving, helping and healing those who suffer from a disaster. My insurance policy outlines “acts of god” as a way to diminish liability. My understanding of God’s Word is that we have increased liability when others need help
Some discuss natural disasters as God’s judgment on an area or culture. I don’t know. How God might distribute His judgment on mankind is WAY above my pay grade. Would He more likely judge a culture that is more secular and send natural disaster their way? Or would He more likely judge our nation that is overflowing with churches and gives only a fraction of our overwhelming wealth to the poor and hurting? I know how I would lean if I were in charge.
Rather than get caught up in the “why” I pray that I will be willing to commit an “act of God” whenever I see a hurting person. It doesn’t matter how many bad decisions they have made. God can use me and you to be one way to show that He is there.
He's reaching for you right where you are
The God of the impossible is never very far
God is there
In the middle of your night
In every single moment
In every single light
God is there
Yeah, I know it sometimes feels overwhelming when you see the vast needs and incredible suffering. But I can do something. Helen Keller once said, “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.”
I spend too much time getting frustrated by the news instead of making a difference where I can. Maybe if we had been more intentional about “being” the Body of Christ the government would not have been tempted to do our jobs for us. I want the grace that God has given me to make my heart sensitive toward the poor and hurting and spiritually seeking. It is hard to spend much time in the New Testament and not realize our challenge to be the Body of Christ. Here is a very small sample.
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17 ESV)
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16 ESV)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 ESV)
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. (Hebrews 6:10 ESV)
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 ESV)
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:34-37 ESV)
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 ESV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ESV)
The charge of hypocrisy leveled at the church has a lot to do with our obsession with sin management over living a life of grace and service. If I am not am not living out of grace then His arms aren’t reaching as far as they could and people may think that God is not there.
What if I really cared? What if you really cared? Wouldn’t it make a difference? There is one way to find out. That way is for us to take seriously that we are the Body of Christ and the arms and legs and hands of God. And then act accordingly. Straight talking James writes in the Book of James that “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
I cannot argue that I do not know the right thing to do. My response will reveal my heart. And if I do the right thing perhaps I will help a hurting fellow sojourner know that God is there.