WEEK 1, DAY 4: FRUITFUL PASSION
Praying for Brunei by Joe Patterson, Broadway United Methodist Church
Scripture Reference: Ezra 4
The Israelites were all in and committed to the task…..the task of resurrecting their community pride and hope in the re-establishment of the temple in Jerusalem. Yet they are surrounded by the naysaying and disruptive voices of discouragement….voices that say ‘you can’t’ and ‘you can’t be trusted…….’
Ezra 4 (The Message)
1-2 Old enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building The Temple of the God of Israel. They came to Zerubbabel and the family heads and said, “We’ll help you build. We worship your God the same as you. We’ve been offering sacrifices to him since Esarhaddon king of Assyria brought us here.”
3 Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the family heads of Israel said to them, “Nothing doing. Building The Temple of our God is not the same thing to you as to us. We alone will build for the God of Israel. We’re the ones King Cyrus of Persia commanded to do it.”
4-5 So these people started beating down the morale of the people of Judah, harassing them as they built. They even hired propagandists to sap their resolve. They kept this up for about fifteen years, throughout the lifetime of Cyrus king of Persia and on into the reign of Darius king of Persia.
There is nothing more demoralizing than having a fruitful passion, people and project in motion; all brought to an abrupt halt because of the opinions and influence of those who are in every way opposed. We see all around us people on two separate sides, many times entrenched on their particular ‘right’ side of God perspective. In these instances, the time table of God doesn’t always align with our expectations. We want results. We want to see the fruits of our passions. A most patient God, looks for the right moment and the right people. He’s willing to wait because He already knows the result. It’s always His moment, never really ours. God’s mighty promise all through His story is filled with normal, insecure people intersecting at the right miraculous moments. Sometimes, that mystery frustrates us and yet at other times it surprises us. A fervent spirit of repentance and humility is what offers us the capacity to not allow frustration to cripple us in these moments, yet not miss the possibility of joy in God’s great mysterious surprise.
Fellow traveller, can you embrace God’s powerful patience and timing as perfect today? Can you release your expectations for His? Can you offer hopes and dreams up this day to a moment of God’s choosing? Let’s pray.
Great Father, Son and Spirit, we offer our praise this day for your promise…You are a Good God….You offer us the promise that can be trusted. We repent of our need for control, Father God……our desires to be applauded…..our rooms that need to be exalted. We offer once again our life, passion and motivation up to You. You are the author of this story and we are so very honored to play a part in the story.
We pray, Father God, break our heart this day once again for the tensions and injustices that make you weep. Give us the resolve and character this day that keeps your timing, your mystery and the potential power of Your movements always on our constant horizon. May we live lives this day, seeking after and planted in Your most perfect promise and on the ready for a miraculous movement of your mercy. We pray these things in the name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen