I have noticed that I have a tendency to dismiss things I dislike in order to avoid being continually annoyed or offended by them. Generally, refusing to become annoyed by everything around me is probably a fairly good coping mechanism, as annoyance and frustration don’t seem to encourage a good attitude of heart. However, God has exposed something in my heart of late: in my willingness to ignore things that are out of compliance with His Word and His purposes, in my attempts to avoid becoming frustrated with the condition of the world around me, I somehow have come to the place of accepting that condition as the status quo and thereby deeming it unchangeable. THAT, I recently realized, is a sin. God wants me to remain actively engaged with His heart for people and situations; He wants me to observe those around me and connect with what they might be thinking or feeling, in order that I might pray for them. Although they need not KNOW I am praying for them, I have a responsibility to pray for people at all times and in all places (“Pray without ceasing.” I Thess. 5:17). How do I pray for all those people? I can pray by observing their needs and praying what the Holy Spirit would desire for them, according to the character of God. For example, if someone ahead of me in line at the store is angry or disturbed, I can silently ask God to impart His perfect peace and comfort to that person. If everyone in the post office appears upset and impatient, I can ask the Holy Spirit to meet the need of every heart and change the atmosphere of that room. When I drive through ramshackle neighborhoods, I can ask the Lord to provide for every need in every home and open new ways for provision for each family. I can ask Him to reveal Himself to hearts who do not know Him. When I pass people on the street who appear to be under the influence of some substance, I can ask the Lord to deliver them and heal every hurt and pain they are trying to medicate. When I pass anyone or anything that reflects death, torment, or destruction, God wants me to speak life, peace, and wholeness to that person or situation.
On the other hand, if I choose to continue in my emotional comfort zone and ignore the things God desires to point out to me, if I disregard things that upset or disturb me, I am actually AGREEING with the apparent status quo. That passive agreement in my heart somehow strengthens a subtle conviction in me that God won’t change things. If I think God won’t change things, the status quo I don’t like actually is affirmed and strengthened by my refusal to use the tool of prayer God has put in my hand. I am asking myself: do I want God to be able to use me as an agent for change, or do I want to drown in the status quo of hopelessness and futility around me? In Exodus 4:2, God asked Moses what he had in his hand. Moses had a simple rod, a shepherd’s rod, in his hand. God used that rod as an instrument of His power to defeat all the gods of the Egyptians. Perhaps the rod in my hand is the power of prayer, the power to speak the life and presence and will and Word of Almighty God into the world around me. The question is: will I choose to use that rod?