Monday, February 14, 2005

The Upside of Downsides

Yesterday an Indonesian missionary spoke in our Sunday School class. He is a native and has begun thousands of churches and many seminaries throughout Indonesia. He said Aceh, flattened by the tsunami, is the only province under Islamic Syariah law - in which it is illegal to share Christ. It is an ardently Muslim region whose people despised America and Western ways.

And yet the world has never witnessed such a humanitarian and social crisis as that reaped by the awful tsunami after Christmas. Our guest missionary told us how the American aid was first to arrive and how these people of Aceh welcomed the sight of our helicopters and the relief we brought.

I thought, “we can be like this with God.” When life is good, we so easily go about our business, making decisions as if we are in control and forgetting to consult our Lord. Prayer can grow stale. But when we’re in the pits, whoa. That’s the time when so many of us call on God. Really seek Him. And look to Him for help and relief.

Crisis can draw us closer and deeper with God if we let it. Pit prayers tend to be vibrant and earnest. That’s the upside of hard times. The writer of the Psalms knew all about life in the pits. Read through the Psalms if you’re having a hard day and see how the writer let “the pits” turn his heart to God.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2