And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
Matthew 24:12 (ESV)
Let us consider today that there at least two factors at work as we seek to care as deeply as we can, praying for those we love.
None of us dispute the teaching of Scripture, that our Father, our God, wants us to be a prayerful people. We are called His House of Prayer. We are encouraged to pray at all times, to pray for those in ministry and in positions of authority, to pray for one another, to pray for those that are burdened and weighed down. Of all the exhortations in the New Testament, watching and praying seems to take the ascendance.
We say, too, that we probably pray the better the more we love, and that touches upon what we are seeing during this season of exploration and honesty. We do love, but we know we could love better, much of the time. What’s more, most of us know and could say that we have failed to love, and in more than one circumstance. Sometimes it felt certain persons were requiring more than we could or would wish to give; sometimes we felt depleted in our own lives, dried up, even a little bitter, with nothing much to give. At times the sheer enormity of the weight of the burdens around us was so great that we realize we never even made a start.
We cannot pray more effectively than the Lord Who is the Spirit, but we can pray with Him. Much more on that tomorrow, but for today, if we can begin to match His zeal, as far as it has to do with us, we will be doing very well. His groanings (Romans 8:26) and His compassion are ours in Christ. In truth, we do not have to come to the measure of His mercy and love … we need only draw from them. If we never care as deeply as He does, we will care with Him and of Him and through Him, and that is how it should be. He always measures with His own measurement, thankfully.
So in the ideal, we care because He cares, and we care with Him and because of Him.
But however are we to get to that high plateau? For a little change, let’s see if we can answer by stating what we DO NOT do.
We do not shut down, no matter the enormity of the need.
We do not give up, no matter the sparsity of our compassion.
We do not stay away from the Throne of Grace, no matter our fears and failures.
We do not consign others to bondage, disease, failure, darkness, no matter the lateness of the hour or the lawlessness abounding.
That seems to work, those decisions.
In the enormity of need, our God is Fullness and Fully Able.
In the sparsity of our own compassion, His can still flow like a River of Life, and ours can be kindled anew. Even when we don’t feel loving, our prayers simply ARE.
In fear and in failure, theirs and ours, the invitation to approach the Throne where our God reigns in glory and grace, is open, and we may ascend to it.
In the lateness and perverseness of the hour, the fact that we care at all and seek to care more deeply, proves the mercies of Christ and that there will be those in whom love burns bright to the end.
We have known today’s Scripture for years, and we have used it to comment upon the age and the disaster of cold love. Today we determine this, that since not all will abandon the white heat of the love of Christ, we will be numbered among them. So, two factors:
- It isn’t easy to care in this age,
- but we must, and we may, fervently.
Divers Cruelties, William Okeley, 11 April, 1675
Wikipedia, by permission