For this week’s blog Pastor Matt is taking a short break and has asked me, Sarah Ashe, to be a guest blogger for the week. I attend Barnitz UMC whenever I am home on break from college. I am currently a junior at James Madison University where I am a Global Justice Studies Major. My hope is that, with God’s help, I will be able to transform my perspective as a young adult into a message that will still be applicable to the lives of anyone reading this blog.
When I first started trying to come up with an idea to write about I was unsure of what message I wanted to tell and probably spent WAY too long trying out different ideas in my head and tailoring my ideas to who I thought my audience would be. In the end I decided to write about one of my favorite passages of scripture, because sometimes it is good to just stick to the things you know and feel passionate about.
The passage of scripture I want to focus on comes from Romans 12: 9-21. It is kind of long but it is one of my all-time favorite passages, and the thought of cutting any of it out was too difficult, so just bear with me please. It states:
9 Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. 11 Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! 12 Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. 14 Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. 16 Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. 17 Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.18 If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. 19 Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, ‘Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back,’ says the Lord. 20 Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head. 21 Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good. (Romans 12: 9-21)
As a college student it is not unusual for me to pray and ask God to show me what he wants me to do with my future. To ask what His will is for my life and to show me what that looks like. For example, does God want me to go to law school or start a career right out of college? What is the career I should choose? My major in college, which I am confident God has led me to pursue, has no specific clear-cut career path with which it is associated. There is no “Global Justice” job that I can apply for after graduation. It is easy to get caught up in these prayers and focus on the “what is Your will” questions. While these questions are not bad to ask and you should definitely seek God’s guidance in every aspect of your life, most of these questions revolve around the human and worldly aspects of life.
I often times become frustrated when I do not get a direct or any answer to my prayers. I would much prefer God answered via a burning bush. However I was able to find solace in Romans because while there might not be a direct answer for the career God wants me to pursue, there are so many other things that God directly tells me to do. If you re-read verses 9 through 21 there are at least 20 different things mentioned that God calls us to do as Christians. God has given us plenty of advice on how to live our lives, so instead of focusing on the worldly questions on our hearts like where should I live, should I have children, should I switch careers, or whatever is plaguing your thoughts and desires, we should actively practice the guidance God gives us in the Bible.
Personally I am often guilty of taking what are small worries in the grand scheme of things and blowing them into all-consuming problems. More times than not my prayers sound like, “God if you want me to do ______, show me a sign.” However imagine if I would instead pray for God to help me love my enemies or even to just be genuinely happy for those around me who are happy. I think that this type of prayer could revolutionize the way we look at life and put the focus back on what is truly God’s will for us as His people.
Often times God can seem so far away and His answers to our prayers so unsatisfying, but if we only take the time to follow the guidance given to us in the Bible we can find the satisfaction we have been searching for all along.
Hopefully this blog entry resonated with some aspect of your life and maybe helped to inspire a change in the way you look at problems you come up against in your individual life. I enjoyed the challenge of articulating my thoughts into a blog format and would like to thank Pastor Matt for giving me this opportunity.
I hope you find Blessings in the New Year!