Why is God here, with Us
Devotional Thought of the Day
Does anyone remember how glorious this temple used to be? Now it looks like nothing. 4 But cheer up! Because I, the LORD All-Powerful, will be here to help you with the work, 5 just as I promised your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt. Don’t worry. My Spirit is right here with you. Haggai 2:3-5 CEV
The Trappist monk Thomas Merton, writing on the spiritual life, completed the diagnosis: “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.” That just about says it all in one sentence.
7 Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. Philippians 4:7 (CEV)
As I look at the Church in America I see people wondering why the church in dying, as it did in Europe. Books and seminars and coaches exist to help you stop this from happening in your church abound. ( We should ask them if it happened in theirs, or whether they count the number of clients as a success) How much the sales tactics of these coaches and seminar leaders affect out outlook is concerning.
Yet, without such coaches, without the seminars, the fancy computer tools, the church in the 10-40 window is growing – often faster than it can disciple those who would be leaders.
I am going to be blunt, I think it is because they realize the promise of Haggai in a way our spiritual clutter doesn’t allow us to experience the Holy Spirit. The key to restoring the church is letting God help!
That is where Kreeft’s quote of Merton resonates, as well as Paul’s words to the church in Philippi. We get so nervous and so anxious about restoring and rebuilding the church now, that we forget about the Holy Spirit being at work, side by side with us! That anxiety loops around on us, driving our decisions, how we invest our time and talent, which drives people away.
And rather than have a vision that is God, we create them to be God-like.
Because we can’t manage this, we can’t love people, because we aren’t basking in God’s peace
Time to take a step away, to take some deep breaths (spiritually, because the air in California today with the fires is unhealthy!) and to be still, and let God help you with your work…
Well actually it is His work, and we are His people.
Which is where the passage from Philippians comes into play. Because we are His, because the work is His, when we realize this, the blessing of peace that is ours becomes more real, even if we cannot understand it. And in that peace, Christ’s work in our hearts and minds becomes evident…
And God’s work is done, in our midst and through us.
So don’t worry, don’t be anxious, His Spirit is here!
Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 176.