Romans 14:1 – Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. (NRSV)
Some weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a day-long video workshop on a sensitive topic that can be divisive and difficult for some people to talk about. So the opportunity to discuss it with others in a safe environment was valuable.
During one of the breaks, an older woman approached me with tears in her eyes. She was clearly distressed and saddened by the discussion and debate. I don't know where she stood on the difficult issue; I was more concerned about her level of distress. I tried to be supportive and empathetic, and then said the first words that popped into my mind: that perhaps the struggle was the point — that perhaps God didn't want to provide us with an easy answer to every question, and wanted us to struggle and wrestle with some of our questions.
Then I said how fortunate I thought we were that we could struggle and wrestle with them in community with each other.
Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (NRSV)
Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (NRSV)
Throughout my adult life, I have often felt that the struggle to discern the will and mind of God was the central struggle of the Christian. For me, prayer is one of my primary tools in the struggle for that discernment. The passage from Jeremiah, and many others in the Bible, remind us that prayer isn't just something that a human person decided was a good idea; it's something from God. The opportunity to pray — for help, for understanding, for wisdom — is a wonderful and powerful gift. But the gift doesn't end there. The passage from Matthew reminds us that if we pray in community with others, the Holy Spirit will be with us and amongst us. What a blessing that is! Because if we are going to go through some struggle — no matter how dark or difficult — isn't it nice to know that we are not alone?
The real gift of prayer is confidence: confidence that no matter what the question, we can bring it to God.
Prayer: Thank You, God, for the gift of prayer. Thank You for listening to us and guiding us. Thank You for our faith communities, that whatever hard road we must travel, we are able to travel it with other believers. Thank You for the Holy Spirit, and for the certain knowledge that we are never, ever alone. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Only Trust Him" (Lyrics)