I was asked to give testimony/ devotions in the CRASH headquarters tomorrow morning, so I'm trying to figure out what to say to such a diverse group of people, who I find so much more capable and mature than I am, and have probably been hearing the same words of encouragement for the past 2 months.
I think I will share from Micah 6:8, "He has shown you what is good and what the Lord requires of you: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God." I love that verse, and it has really guided me this year. There have been times when I am at a peak in my life, and want to show God how thankful and in love with him I am, but I don't quite know how to do that without showing pride or hypocrisy. And there have been times in which I am so confused, and I call out to God, "What should I do?" There have also been plenty of times in which I have been so distraught that all I can do is cry to him, "Why?"
But God calls us to act justly--to feed and talk to the homeless people, and care for your widowed great aunts, to look out for the kids and those who are disabled or suffering, or just in the margins of society; To be aware of the problems and injustices of the world and do whatever we can to end them; To be a shoulder to cry on for the suffering, and a light for those wandering off course. I know I am so far from being able to do these things, but it is something I have been considering in my actions this year, and aiming for in my life.
God also calls us to love mercy. Everyone has been hurt by someone. Sometimes in small annoyances and arguments, and sometimes the wounds run deeper than anyone can imagine. Showing an act of mercy is a difficult thing, but infinitely more difficult is actually feeling and living that mercy. Besides pain in close relationships, there are also those more distant people who I tease, generally dislike, insult, or simply ignore. I call people names behind their back, and laugh about them, even when I don't know their story. I pass on blame to others and hold grudges. In these things I am extremely unmerciful. I am slowly discovering the immense void of mercy in the world, and how necessary it is. We have to recognize that as much as people can tear us apart, we are out there doing the same thing everyday, often without realizing it. And people are also capable of picking us back up, even holding us up when we can't stand alone. I know I have experienced this with my friends this year. The world certainly doesn't need more pointing fingers, breaking apart, choosing sides, dropping bombs. Show mercy. Forgive each other. Many of our fights are not worth remembering anyways.
Justice and mercy are fairly comprehensible aspects of God's character and will. However, what does it mean to walk humbly with God? At least for me, I know it is impossible for me to show complete justice or mercy on my own. That, in and of itself, produces a spirit of humility in me, and a dependence on God. I also think God brings us to humility through wilderness experiences. By this I refer to the Israelites wandering around, (literally walking) in the wilderness for years, constantly getting their pride knocked out of them, and growing closer to their God. God can use the same sort of situation for each of us. I'm sure some people around me are going through wilderness experiences right now. The awful thing about the desert isn't just the barren dryness where you are standing, but it is the fact that all you can see for miles around you is MORE barren dryness. There's no way out. Not a scrap of food around, not even a Denny's. The Israelites lived from day to day not knowing if they would get their next meal or drink until God provided. I feel the same sense of helpless hopelessness in situations of anguish in my life.
Walking humbly means to trust God in all things, and also to make your life completely God-centered. Jesus himself is the perfect example of walking humbly with God through his lifetime of serving both his Father and his people. He tells us to seek first the kingdom and his righteousness. Not seek the kingdom once you're done seeking your fortune, your relationship, your career, your ministry, but seek the kingdom FIRST. Walking humbly with God means making him our main priority. It means that everything we do is for his glory, and through his grace and power. If we truly walk humbly with God, we will automatically seek justice and love mercy, and do all these things in a God-honoring way.
So stay close to him. Listen to him. Talk to him. Trust him. I don't know much, but these things have been strong pillars in my life. As we strive to make this broken world more whole through justice and mercy, we cannot neglect our personal connection to God. He desperately wants you to walk with him. In a time of national disasters and personal grief, weariness, stress, confusion, and doubt, there little else we can do in response. He loves us and will direct our paths, even in the wilderness.
So I guess I will say something like that... It would be cool to sing that song "Hosanna" by Hillsong too. And I just realized that everything I say has to get translated sentence by sentence, so I better make this more clear and succinct. I don't know if this will hit home for anyone in the office, but at any rate, God put it on my heart to share. So hopefully it isn't too boring or horrendous. Especially since it was produced from midnight ramblings.