Monday, September 29, 2014

Hear My Prayer, Lord

By Beth DeCristofaro

Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.  Job spoke out and said:  Perish the day on which I was born, the night when they said, “The child is a boy!”  Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? (Job 3:1-3)

[B]ut (the Samaritans) would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”  Jesus turned and rebuked them … (Luke 9:53-55)

O LORD, my God, by day I cry out;
at night I clamor in your presence.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my call for help.
(Psalm 88:1-2)

Job’s words are so apt today.  Just as Job did not deserve the calamities that befell him, neither did the people killed in the volcano eruption in Japan, the children killed in Syrian battles, the villagers in Congo who are attacked by militias, families dying of Ebola, children missing in Maryland.  People face catastrophes and tragedies everyday undeserved and often unexpectedly.  Job continued to speak with God even when he wondered why God caused his existence in the first place.

The Samaritans chose their misfortune when they rejected Jesus.  They preferred to remain with their hidebound beliefs instead of choosing Life.  Yet Jesus did not reject them.  They did not deserve mercy and Jesus showed them mercy.  Apparently James and John had power to punish.  Jesus rebuked them.  For Jesus, power is love, a love which He would fulfill in Jerusalem.  It is this power Jesus gives to his disciples and to us today.  It is this power He expects from them and from us which will build his kingdom.  It is this power of love which Jesus offers to us in the days when we feel cursed and in the days when we know joy.  Jesus’ love, forgiveness and mercy are constant.

Are there calamities I have “chosen” such as a lifestyle resulting in disease, stress or disruption in my family?  Are there terrors which I fear and therefore do not reach out in love?  Have I been hurt, abandoned, betrayed by someone or even by my own body through bad health and thus I hold back my love?  When I place myself in the presence of Jesus, walking with him to Jerusalem, may I ask him for his love and mercy upon myself and those I might have hurt.  Call down His love and mercy rather than fire from heaven in retribution.

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