The church service at my church this morning focused on Christ as the good shepherd. In the closing prayer, the pastor said that Christ knows all of our temperaments.
I was thinking about a similar issue as I was walking to church, and
as I was walking back: that we are all in different places. There are
reasons that our hearts are closed, hard, and cold to what they’re
closed, hard, and cold to, and that they’re warm, soft, and open to what
they’re warm, soft, and open to. I cannot control what other people
believe or don’t believe, for there are reasons that they are where they
are. I can try to be a positive influence, whenever I can, but people
are where they are. But I do pray that God might minister to people
wherever they are. Does he? Well, I don’t know. Some testify that he
does. My heart, however, remains cold and hard to God and many people.
I can perhaps accept the belief that God is, somehow, a good
shepherd. This could be the case, even if there is suffering and death
in this life, for God can shepherd people’s souls into the afterlife.
But Christianity also demands a subjective response on our part. That
is where I struggle: can I give the subjective response that God wants?
I’ll be going to my church’s Bible study this week. The Bible Study group will be using the curriculum, When God’s People Pray.
The bulletin described the study as follows (and I do not know if it is
quoting something): “Prayer can change lives and circumstances like
nothing else can. What are the keys that unlock its power, turn prayer
from a mere activity into a vital link with God and all God’s
resources? In this 6-session DVD based study we will discover the power
of God to restore hope, ignite faith, work miracles, and change
I certainly can improve my prayer life. It is not that I don’t pray:
I do often. But I often feel that it is a mere activity, that I am not
truly connecting with God. And I felt this way when I was a
fundamentalist, not just now. Moreover, I wonder what exactly I am
supposed to be expecting from prayer: that my outward circumstances will
change, that God will strengthen me to cope with any circumstance, both
of those things, or neither of them? Maybe this study will give me
insight. Will I like or agree with everything I hear? Probably not.
But my hope is that I will just experience life, with its highs and
lows, rather than judging life, or getting worked up about it. And I
will blog about the study. My posts will probably not be widely liked
or disliked, but they will get read. How do I know? Because all of
them do, by at least someone.
Anyway, those are my ramblings for the day. I wish those celebrating
Mother’s Day a Happy Mother’s Day. I am thankful to my Mom for her
love for me. If anyone models to me God’s love and patience (assuming
God is a God of unconditional, or overwhelming, love), it’s her.