“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
Jeremiah 33: 3
Isaiah 64: 1-9; & Luke 11: 1-13
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to do nothing.” This is a well-known saying over which there is debate as to the original author (possibly incorrectly attributed to Edmund Burke, used by J. F. Kennedy but probably used originally by John Stuart Mill). The point, however, is well made and its truth is clear. I use this quote though because I was thinking about the state of our world and the impact of the pandemic. In addition I was considering some personal difficulties that my family and I have experienced; where was God in all of this, was He acting, what were/are His purposes? I found myself frustrated with what I perceived as passiveness on God’s part and felt guilt for thinking this. All my life in my relationship with God I have found utter honesty to be the right approach so I poured out my heart with as much respect as I could muster. In God’s grace the result was an overwhelming sense of peace and the relearning of a truth I know and have often taught. God is NOT passive, it is we who are passive in reaching out to Him. Self-sufficiency, comfort, unbelief and a simple lack of knowing God are some of the many reasons we do not reach out to God. We do nothing and evil triumphs. In our lives, families, communities and world.
Just look at the Scriptures I’ve listed. God tells us through Jeremiah to call on Him and He WILL answer and tell us wondrous things. Through the prophet Isaiah (the passage was the subject of my talk on 29th November) we see how God’s people are implored to call on Him to show Himself and act. Consider the Biblical teaching of lament and prayer (listen to my Real Lives talk on 25th November). We see this amazing truth, God has chosen the Church to be the Body of Christ. We are His chosen agents of His Mission of reconciliation. In Luke, Jesus teaches us principles of Prayer: Pattern; Persistence; and Providence. The Lord’s Prayer is a beautiful and holistic pattern of prayer we can apply to all situations praying for God’s Kingdom, will and provision (vs. 2-4). We see Jesus teaching us persistence in prayer, we are not to give up; God will answer (vs. 5-10). And we are assured of God’s loving desire to provide what we truly need empowered by His Holy Spirit (vs. 11-13).
Another quote, this time from a bad movie source Spiderman (!!) (but probably dating from the French Revolution); “With great power comes great responsibility.” The truth is there tough, God has given us a great responsibility and He is the ultimate power. I would encourage all of us to turn to God in prayer and to call upon Him to act so that evil does not triumph.
To Ponder: Oftentimes complacency and comfort are revealed in our lives by difficulties and challenges. What has this pandemic revealed to you about your relationship with God? How might this affect your prayer life?
Pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Praise: More than Conquerors by Bruce Moore
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.