I don't pray for world peace – not sure that I ever have. I guess I don't see a point in doing so. It's not that I doubt my God. I know He can stop all the violence and fighting, and He will restore peace one day when no one expects it. (Matthew 24:42)
As I read the Bible, I am reminded of the gray area in the middle of the black and white print. There is always a war somewhere on this third rock from the sun. Between the light and the dark lives the battle between the two.
There's never been peace on Earth since the snake slithered into the Garden and sin entered the world. There has always been famine, disease, addiction, abuse, murder, and many other evils fueled by greed, lust, power, and pride. Someone always has it worse than us, and someone always has it better than us. While not intended to sound devoid of feeling, this is just a fact.
I'm sure you are aware of the tragedies rocking our world today. I don't write about current events (outside of my little life) because there are enough people who already do. There are plenty of opinions and "expert" accounts at the ready.
But I worry because I've noticed a shift in my demeanor lately -- my cup of compassion running dry. I am typically a big feeler, even crying at the start of the SPCA commercials before they picture the first dog. But now, I can scroll through the news app without releasing a tear.
Have I grown numb to the news? I wonder as I consume headline after headline of heartbreaking stories.
Have the birth pains caused me to look away?
Partially so, I think.
My generation is accustomed to overwhelming media and information. I'm used to reading fifty depressing news topics and only reading one feel-good story. I am well aware of the oppression and pain in this world, so I don't look away but instead up.
But still. I could do more. Be more. Give more.
We know these things must come to fruition, and we must continue to look forward with a steadfast gaze. Yes, things must get worse – the gray must lean heavily towards the dark before the Prince of Peace makes his entrance (Matthew 24:30).
I'll admit being entrenched in worldly negativity and dark has exhausted my soul. Taking cover in the light of my little corner, I want nothing more than to stay and hide -- to ignore the shadowy areas outside my comfort zone.
But we are asked to do more. Be more. Give more.
Jesus doesn't expect us to carry the weight and worries of the world. Only He can. But we are commanded to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31) and to give our hearts from an overflowing vessel of compassion.
So I've shifted my prayers in this time. I ask the Lord to show His favor on the afflicted, comfort the oppressed, and feed the poor with a more focused intent and fervor. I go through the names of my family, friends, and acquaintances and pray with purpose. Then I ask the Lord to forgive me for not remembering all the prayer requests and humbly ask Him to honor my unspoken prayers.
I quit asking why and have found content. What will be, will be.
I don't ask the Lord when Jesus is coming back. Of course, no one except the Father knows the day and hour when Jesus rides His white horse (Matthew 24:36). And I have no expectation that this question will be answered or if I will even be alive so I can plug it into my calendar.
But instead, I ask, how much time is left of my life, God?
To tell others about you?
And I just get the feeling He answers, "enough."
What do you want me to do with this time that is enough? I question.
To tell others about me.
To leave your burdens at my feet.
To love more.
To allow yourself to feel more.
And to do it all with great purpose.
I'm not sure about you, but I am always trying to get ahead of the Lord (as if that is even possible.) I worry about things God has already worked out in His masterful plan. My focus tends to wander to things beyond my control, and then my anxiety follows.
Constantly questioning if I am enough and if I am doing enough.
And is there time to be enough?
Jesus' three-and-a-half year ministry on Earth teaches us to live with great intent according to the Father's will, and all will be accomplished in God's time.
When we are intentional, our hope becomes ammunition in a hopeless world. Our faith is like rain when everything is burning. Our testimonies will spread far and wide like wildfire (Matthew 24:14).
And there is always enough time because God allotted us the perfect amount of time down to the millisecond to achieve His purpose.
"It is finished!" will not be spoken a second too early. (Revelation 21:6)
And in that moment.
The dark will absorb our light, and the gray will become white.
And the light wins.