Updated: Oct 14, 2022
It's been a month since my last post. But, you can't blame me, after all I have been busy dancing in the streets at having a completely clear scan last month. It's been a high I haven't wanted to come off of for fear that this surreal feeling is just a dream. Thank you all for the abundance of prayers over the last year as I travelled through this cancer journey. I couldn't have made it through without each of you.
And last Sunday, I spoke of prayer and how as we come together, the power of prayer becomes evident in our lives. Things we finally discover and admit we can't do on our own become things we conquer together. Together is always better!
I have talked before about a group I belong to called, "The Fellowship of the Withered Hand," John Ortberg is the founder and leader of this group of highly prayerful people. John has been taking us on a daily journey for a bit now by giving us a devotional series every weekday. This particular one we are going through is called, "You Were Made To Count."
In today's devotional, John was talking about where our resilience comes from. He used Philipians 4:13 to express Paul's words about us being able to do anything. In reality, he said, we can actually face anything with Jesus at our side.
This in turn made me think back on my sermon on prayer and the fact that we can face anything when we give it all up to God and let Him handle things for us. Be a part of what God wants us to do, but realize it is in His hands where we experience freedom from our daily trials and tribulations. Let Him change us and the way we think about and treat one another...especially those who cause us harm. Pray for those who cause harm.
Last night I couldn't sleep. It had been a shocking evening that had sent my nerves on edge and shaken me to the core. It was a night I could only face with the help of Jesus by lifting up all that was on my mind and heart in prayer. It was a night that became a time of continual prayer for people I didn't even know but who I knew needed prayer.
How the night started. I was having dinner at a local restaurant in Moorpark when a car slammed into a pedestrian crossing the street right in front of where I was sitting. The sound of that impact and the sight of that is haunting me still as I type this post. The man was thrown in the air and landed on the windshield before falling to the ground.
As I dialed 911 and we began to rush out to the street to help the man who was hit, the driver of the car was trying to leave the scene. The man at the table next to mine bravely stepped in front of his car and yelled at him to stop and don't leave. He threw the car in reverse and you could hear the screeching tires as he planned to take off...but, the car wouldn't go anywhere, and based on the amount of damage to the front of the car you could see why.
Did this man intend to strike the man crossing the street, another human being? No. Was it an accident? Yes. The car didn't have its lights on so it's most likely the driver was not able to see the man in the dark clothing. But where does leaving the scene and abandoning another human being fall on the scale of care and compassion for your fellow man?
I talked to a friend who is a former police officer and was told there are different reasons this can happen and not necessarily stemming from a place of disregard or lack of compassion. The responding officers were there within a couple of minutes, as was the fire department and ambulance. The man was quickly taken away and the officers began their task of talking to witnesses and the owner of the vehicle that had caused the accident.
Our instincts run red hot in these circumstances and we tend to be angry and want the greatest and harshest amount of justice to be dealt to the guilty party. And just so you know, full confession, I am no different than anyone else. We become judge and jury all in one fell swoop. We cling to our faith and pray for the injured party as we watch the rescue scenes unfold. However, our first instinct, if even an instinct at all, is not to pray for the culprit. And yet, prayer for those who have harmed us is a Biblical mandate. How do we truly live into our faith if we don't follow this teaching? We can't. So what do we do?
Like the earliest Christians in the first century, we come together and pray. We pray for God to work in and through the hard circumstances that are at hand. We pray for God to be in all aspects of the healing of the injured party. We pray for his family and all that will likely be involved in the long recovery process. We pray and give thanks for the first responders and their quick and efficent efforts to help everyone involved. And we pray for the person who caused all the harm in the first place.
We pray for injuries this person likely also sustained. We pray for the outcome of any actions that needed to be taken legally based on his condition at the time of the accident. We pray for this man's heart...that he repent of the actions he took immediately following the accident. We pray that he humbly take responsibility for all of his actions that evening, before, during and after the accident. And we pray and give this all up to God to work in and through everyone whose lives were touched in anyway this night.
Sleepless nights = Prayerful nights. What is on your heart at night that keeps you up and causes it to be a sleepless night? Give it up in prayer. Who is it that has done you harm? Give them up in prayer. What difficulties and challenges are you facing? Give it up in prayer. The most powerful thing we can do together is offer prayer for everything and everyone.
As a note to this, the injured man was wearing a cross and was told that God was with him at that very moment. Calming words of assurance that he wasn't alone. Neither are any one of us!
"Prayer is what binds us,
Assures we are not alone,
Give all up in prayer!"