God Can Still Heal Our Land
That was the first thing I saw as I opened an email from a prominent US based ministry.
What came next broke my heart.
Your end-of-year gift can make an impact in 2016—around the world and across America.
Perhaps the one sending this email was not intending for me to read these two things together.
Perhaps they weren’t suggesting that if I sent this organization my money God would heal America.
But that’s what is sounded like to me.
It makes me a little angry.
I get the need for giving and the fact that ministries depend on our generosity. I also get that money is tight and people who are reminded to give, will give more, as a rule.
But this feels manipulative to me. Do you see it?
I’ll be happy if you tell me, “Ben, you’re over reacting.”
The fact is, both statement are likely true. God can still heal our land. His arm is not shortened that He cannot save! "Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? (Isaiah 50:2) And your giving to this world known ministry will probably make an impact on someone somewhere.
But God did not promise to heal the land of His people based on their giving.
What did He say, in verse alluded to above? Let’s look:
If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. - 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 NASB
What did He ask His people to do?
This is first. How often do I pray without first humbling myself. I pray from the dictates of my proud heart that puts me at the center of everything.
Lord - help me to humble myself so I can see your priorities and pray into them.
Ben, you actually need to pray—not just think good thoughts toward God. You must speak to Him, converse, dialog. Don’t demand. Don’t tell Him your theology. Talk with Him. Pour out your heart to Him. Maybe it won’t all be words. Maybe there will be groaning. Perhaps there will be things said that you don’t understand, in angelic tongues. Let it be mostly about Him. He’ll bring your mind to what’s on His.
Lord - nudge me to talk with you. Show me the time. Draw me. I want to. My flesh is weak, my spirit willing. Help.
Seek My face
Yes, that’s the kind of prayer He is looking for. David style praying. Seeking after that one thing. The longing for intimacy. That desire to be in the Holy place with the Lord of all.
Lord - Call me to the secret place. Help me to hear your call and come, to still my soul and it’s incessant chatter. O Lord, I seek your face.
Turn from their wicked ways
Wow Lord, really - I have wicked ways? As my friend Wally would say - Yep.
Just the fact that I have to work so hard at humility. Something wicked in there.
Why is it so hard to set aside time to pray and study? Something wicked in there.
How is it that I am so easily offended? Something wicked in there.
I’m so easily distracted from what God has on my plate. Something wicked in there.
Every time I hear the word wicked, I think of the verse in Malachi which give me my working definition for the word:
So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. - Malachi 3:18 NASB
The wicked is not just the whoremonger or satin worshipper. The wicked is the one who does not serve God.
Lord - help me turn my heart toward serving you with all my being.
The promises that accompany this life course are way more than the healing of the land.
I will hear from heaven
This is huge. God—Creator, Savior, Redeemer—will listen to the cries of His people.
Lord - Hear our prayer.
I will forgive their sin
This is a place for shouting. Though my rap-sheet paints me wicked from head to toe - The Blood of Jesus washed me—made me spotless—cleaner than Mr Clean. The flood of this blood—this grace—has toppled the wall of separation—torn the veil—made me whole.
Lord - You are turning my grumbling into praise. You’ve taken my rags of grumpiness and turned them into robes of praise. You are good, Lord, You are good in all Your ways.
Heal their land
Oh - and there is this too. And in fact, our land (America in my case) could use some healing, and I am ever hopeful. God is good, and just. Come what may, He is almighty and holy. Will not the God of all the earth do right?
Yes Lord - You always do what is right and good, and I trust you.
Thanks for listening to yet another rant.
I pray you walk in blessing in the New Year.
Shine where you’re plugged in.