We're alive

Emotions run wild, don't they?

I have a friend who is enduring some hard times these days. I'll hang out with her and it's obvious that, in her mind, everything in the world is stacked up against her. She'll make these statements about how she feels and it's clear that her feelings are in charge of everything. Like, you'll invite her to do something fun later in the week and her answer will be, "well, we'll see how I feel." And there's this awful weight with every word and expression that exudes from her. It's like all she knows and experiences is emotion. And nothing can challenge or dethrone it. Her feelings are her reality.

But is that true?

There are these times when we're trying to feel the nearness of GOD- But we don't. In these moments we feel nothing; we stare out the window; we're frozen; the mind anxiously wanders. And at these junctures, there is seemingly very little connection between us and GOD. Very little connecting us to the life of the world or the people surrounding us. It's an island of emotional isolation. We need to be near to God in these moments, but it feels like we can't. And so we heap guilt upon ourselves.

We hear things like, "If you feel far away from God, guess who moved." or someone asks us, "Are you doing your quiet times?" And we quickly deconstruct that there must be some problem with our level of personal devotion.

n the midst of all of this, rarely do we question the validity of our emotions. Rarely do we call to question the authority of our feelings. When our experience with GOD feels lifeless, we decide there is no life there. We believe that the connection has been cut and that, therefore, it must be our fault.

But maybe this is a lie. Maybe we've forgotten something. What if our emotions are misleading us? What if they do not directly correspond to our standing? What if emotion, like us, is human too, and therefore flawed in it's ability to inform us of our fate?

But things like synicism, loneliness, apathy or discouragement creep into the forefront of our experience and overshadow the reality of an eternal hope. The reality that we are justified and, even in our imperfections, called perfect by a GOD who says we belong to Him.

We have peace between ourselves and God, but we must choose it and truly know it, above our emotions.

I was listening to the words of a song recently that repeatedly, over and over was proclaiming, "I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive" and eventually I too joined in. It was hard to sing. I didn't want to beause it didn't feel real. But the more I did, the more that feeling diminished. And on some level the feeling was replaced by a realization. It was true. I am alive. And it was so refreshing. Like something I'd forgotten had all at once been rediscovered.

Maybe you need to repeatedly tell yourself from time to time, "I AM alive, so very alive" and experience it- In spite of the emotions.

A heart for All people, In All places

This morning as I picked the newspaper up off the front steps, I saw the bold word IRAQ peering at me from the front page. And immediately I thought, "Why wouldn't I, or someone, make habit of reading the articles and praying over the involved individuals/groups?"

Closing the door to the cold and heading for the living room chair, my question was quickly answered with the comforting realization that such prayers must be reserved for someone there, experiencing that first hand.

I mean, seriously let's be real, how far can one prayer go? No, Really... How far? I 'm asking. I think about this. And I think about this God that is said to exist outside my comfortably insular friends Space and Time. Does this God take a look at google maps, and decide, "Nope. Sorry. You've violated your 25 mile prayer perimeter. Keep it closer to home next time, bud. And choose things that revolve exclusively around you and your world!"

Come on.

What separates our experienced realities? Today, nothing more than money spent and a plane ride taken keep me from the experience of Rwanda, the streets of Baghdad, or the pain of New Orleans. Only a few short hours. Our world is small, very small. So in effect, what I see/experience/feel the need to pray for, is dictated by what I allow in to my life, or choose to be exposed to. In my priveledged world of affluence, I've been given the perceived luxury of turning my eyes off to the realities I wish not to see.

So As I spend money freely in large or small quantities (and especially when I spend it on "me" experiences), I owe just as much responsibility to what I saw as what I did not see.

A prayer for the distant war in the distant land is just as near, just as real, as the prayer for the spouce sleeping next to you, the best-friend, brother, or coworker. These prayers are just as vital, just as impactful, just as necessary as any other. These prayers are so very real and looming with potential.

Prayer's transcendent nature is not only that it may change the world immediately around me; but that it may seriously alter and influence the broader surrounding world- A world I do not even know or even experience. Prayer is interacting with the whole world. By faith we're brought in as participants on a level far beyond our perceived spheres of influence, far beyond reasonable proximics; where God's presence in my life becomes about so many others, far beyond myself.