Monday morning. Thirty-five callers ahead of me on the Army pediatric clinic appointment line. And I am humbled when I feel the irritation well up over that minor inconvenience and it strikes me how surreal it is that I sit here in comfort while half a world away the people of Japan are gripped by grief, fear and devastation. I struggle to really grasp their plight as real people in real distress, and not just images on a TV screen. Whatever minor inconveniences I may face today pale in comparison to the real tragedy facing the people of Japan. I confess that I cannot wrap my brain around it.
I try to pray for the people, and I don’t even know what words to say. All I know to pray through tears is, “Please, Lord, have mercy. Please may people turn to Jesus in the midst of the horror.”
And I find myself saying stupid, trite things in conversations about it to try to make sense of something so massive that really, it would be wiser to just put my hand over my mouth and bow before holy God who is sovereign and trust Him and allow His Spirit to intercede where I do not have the words or wisdom to know what to say.
Closer to home I am pondering the sermon yesterday that challenged us, challenged me, and I am convicted that I am too much of a hermit too much of the time. I am convicted that my neighbors are lost, and I am called to live blameless and innocent in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation and walk among them as a light in the world. I am humbled when I think that God has placed our family here, in this neighborhood, and we can be a lighthouse to point our neighbors to Jesus. And I confess the fear that fills me and the shame when I confess that I do not often enough think about my lost neighbors and pray for them and get out into the neighborhood and get to know them and learn to care about them. And Saturday when I was out there I missed an opportunity to witness to a neighbor because I was distracted, and I weep because I realize how much I need God’s grace to open my heart in this area.
Studying Revelation in Sunday school the past several months, we are being reminded every week that it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, that it is all to His glory, and that the point and purpose of all prophecy is to point us to Jesus. And tuning my heart to recognize that He is coming again, and that all these things I’m pondering are wrapped up in the fact that I aim to love His appearing, that I aim to live in the light of the fact that He is coming again, Hallelujah, what a Savior.
And last night I was reminded as we read Psalm 19 together in our discipleship class that while the heavens declare the glory of God....it is His Word that is perfect, converting the soul. Today as I think on that, I recognize that it is on meditating and studying His Word that my mind is transformed and renewed so that I may think the thoughts that turn my heart and desires to love the LORD my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and I can present myself to God as a living sacrifice and walk in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Lord, please have mercy - for the people of Japan, and for my neighbors. Please tune my heart to sing Your praise. Teach me to love the LORD my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength, and as I learn to love You with all I am, teach me, equip me, enable me to love my neighbor as myself. Nothing is impossible with You, Lord, turn my heart of stone to a heart of flesh, soft and teachable and unselfish. I am riddled with selfishness, Lord. Change me, because I cannot change myself. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my strength and my Redeemer.