Facing down intimidation

I’m going through a challenging time right now. I usually approach the world through knowledge and I find myself in a place where my knowledge is woefully inadequate. Tomorrow I will be fasting and praying for wisdom. Tonight, though, I picked up Eugene Peterson’s Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. I hadn’t read in it for a couple of weeks, but tonight it jumped out at me and the first thing I read was exactly what I needed to hear. Peterson says,

It always appears that history is dominated by powerful forces that totally overshadow people of faith in God: powerful politicians, powerful armies, powerful financiers, powerful institutions [and arson attacks]. What good are prayer and worship compared to these “principalities and powers”? The temptation, then, is to live small, settle for domestic coziness, retreat to the sidelines, create a ghetto in which we can carry out our life of faith in God with as little interference as possible from “the world.”

Timid people (intimidated people) often secretly admire those whom they fear. They constantly compare themselves unfavorably with them, but would very much like to be one of them. As a consequence their imaginations are shaped by a history that exhibits the power of the human and has no sense of God’s presence and action in it. They are left with a feeling that God is involved only in the privacies and domesticities of their inner lives – what they think of as their souls.

Whoever the person who burned down our youth building this summer, the ultimate agency was satanic. If satan would be concerned enough to attack us in this way, it seems unlikely he would make the one hit and then give up. But there are many ways to hit, and the hits continue – mostly through personal attacks on our leaders.

In the midst of these attacks, from God’s perspective we are going through a time of testing. Will we pass the test? Will our faith in God be our strength – rather than our plans and dependence on our abilities (and insurance)? Will we be single minded about pursuing our (God’s) mission of reaching people for Jesus? Will we stay united in love with each other? That’s my prayer.

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