When was the last time you looked outside the window of your life to the world beyond? Why do I ask? Each of my blogs/letters to you over the last year or so have focused on the difficulties you are facing, how to keep your spiritual wits about you, and each has offered encouragement about the prospects for tomorrow. It is obvious you are hurting, especially financially, but personally as well. The majority of us are.
Each day my snail mail, email, and online mail is filled with prayer requests for a variety of needs. Cancer, death, fragmenting families, abuse, loneliness, loss of a job, a spouse, a chance; dashed hopes, faded dreams, and lives on the rocks.
These are challenging days.
Even though the economic indicators are portending a recovery from our economic woes, it will be at least two—maybe three—years before you feel the surge. Meanwhile, the rest of life will not relent.
You will get older. The status quo will change more rapidly next year than it did this year. People around you will continue to make poor choices that will affect you adversely. And…. I could go on, but you know what I’m talking about.
The things I have written to you over these months are true. I have not retracted anything in any of my blogs or letters to you.
The Scriptures still stand. Father remains on His throne. You are still an alien in a foreign land awaiting your summons to return home. Christ’s role in your life is unchanged: He remains the one called to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to set the captives free, and to proclaim a release from darkness to the prisoners.
Where do you fit within His mission statement?
Are you poor? Brokenhearted? Captive? A prisoner? The answer is, “Yes.” You are all of the above, and that is precisely why I have written focused encouragement to you.
But what about the world beyond you? Or as I asked at the top of my letter: What is happening in the world outside of your life?
I encourage you to take a look. But, do yourself a favor and ensure you take a candid look. Unless you are a member of an extraordinary Sunday School class, you will not see reality there. Sunday School classes are too unsafe for most people to be honest. The halls of your church do not lend themselves to heartfelt revelations. Neither do professional settings. There is too much posturing and positioning for power for people to let down their guard.
Rather—over a meal, during a mid-morning cup of coffee, while the daily action is in a lull, or stopping to debrief before beginning your evening commute. Snippets at the water cooler, the copier, in the elevator, and walking through the parking garage; phone calls to check in at odd—versus routine—times, talking over the back fence, or beside the car after dropping the kids at school.
Ask Father to bring clear opportunities across your path. Believe that He will do as you ask, and then pay attention. Look for Father’s lead. Trust that you are in His place—all the places above are His—and then, engage with confidence.
You are a new person, accepted and loved. Skip the contrived image of “witnessing” that is in your head. Follow your heart. After all, it is bonded to His heart. His wishes are written there. He has washed it clean and finds it a fine place for His dwelling. You are secure in Him, so be secure.
And what do you say? Sometimes—oftentimes—you say nothing. You simply “be” with the person you are with.
But when called upon to offer perspective, ask yourself very simply, “What is Father saying to me?” Whatever the answer is, that is what you should speak about. Recall that Paul said he had determined to know nothing except Christ. More than likely, just like Paul, your Heavenly Father will have been speaking to you about Jesus. When asked, talk about what Father is thinking about with you.
Engage. Invest. Open your heart. Discuss what Christ is doing in your life. Be secure. Be real. No façade, mask, or pose. Determine to speak about that which is personal, from the heart, and is the honest truth of Christ’s intervention in your life—the poor, the brokenhearted, the captive, the prisoner...
...whose heart is rich, fulfilled, released, and free.