The church service at my church this morning focused on Christ as the good shepherd. In the closing prayer, the pastor said that Christ knows all of our temperaments.
I was thinking about a similar issue as I was walking to church, and as I was walking back: that we are all in different places. There are reasons that our hearts are closed, hard, and cold to what they’re closed, hard, and cold to, and that they’re warm, soft, and open to what they’re warm, soft, and open to. I cannot control what other people believe or don’t believe, for there are reasons that they are where they are. I can try to be a positive influence, whenever I can, but people are where they are. But I do pray that God might minister to people wherever they are. Does he? Well, I don’t know. Some testify that he does. My heart, however, remains cold and hard to God and many people.
I can perhaps accept the belief that God is, somehow, a good shepherd. This could be the case, even if there is suffering and death in this life, for God can shepherd people’s souls into the afterlife. But Christianity also demands a subjective response on our part. That is where I struggle: can I give the subjective response that God wants?
I’ll be going to my church’s Bible study this week. The Bible Study group will be using the curriculum, When God’s People Pray. The bulletin described the study as follows (and I do not know if it is quoting something): “Prayer can change lives and circumstances like nothing else can. What are the keys that unlock its power, turn prayer from a mere activity into a vital link with God and all God’s resources? In this 6-session DVD based study we will discover the power of God to restore hope, ignite faith, work miracles, and change lives—-through prayer.”
I certainly can improve my prayer life. It is not that I don’t pray: I do often. But I often feel that it is a mere activity, that I am not truly connecting with God. And I felt this way when I was a fundamentalist, not just now. Moreover, I wonder what exactly I am supposed to be expecting from prayer: that my outward circumstances will change, that God will strengthen me to cope with any circumstance, both of those things, or neither of them? Maybe this study will give me insight. Will I like or agree with everything I hear? Probably not. But my hope is that I will just experience life, with its highs and lows, rather than judging life, or getting worked up about it. And I will blog about the study. My posts will probably not be widely liked or disliked, but they will get read. How do I know? Because all of them do, by at least someone.
Anyway, those are my ramblings for the day. I wish those celebrating Mother’s Day a Happy Mother’s Day. I am thankful to my Mom for her love for me. If anyone models to me God’s love and patience (assuming God is a God of unconditional, or overwhelming, love), it’s her.