I was reading an article in yesterday's paper about the state of things in Georgia regarding the ongoing drought. The article was talking about Gov. Perdue's call for a day of prayer for rain. Keep in mind that the Governor was not even talking about a strictly Christian prayer (although he is a devout Christian). He had invited Hindus, Jews, Muslims, etc. to join him at the capital building to pray for relief from the incredible drought that is crippling most of the Southeast. At the end of the article, the paper had invited readers to blog about the Governor's request and the day of prayer.
My heart was saddened...for two reasons.
First, after scanning through the early replies on the blog, I only found ONE half-hearted paragraph of support for the Governor. Keep in mind this is Atlanta, Georgia--heart of what was once the Bible-belt in our country. In those multiple responses, only one person had taken the time or felt the need to defend a political leader's call for prayer.
Secondly, I was saddened by the hatred and bitterness of the responders who were so outspoken about their feelings. Obviously, this is America. Everyone has a right to voice their feelings. But the words I read were malicious and hateful. They attacked the governor--words like "moron", "imbecile", "backwards" and "bigot" were used. They attacked people who believed in prayer. Again the words were filled with poison.
But the worst was yet to come. I was floored at the number of people who took this opportunity to turn their attacks directly on God. Some challenged Him to make it rain. Some questioned His wisdom and power. Others, of course, wondered why we even conversed with something that was the "figment of our collective imaginations." I was depressed. Then angry. Then confused.
Then, something began to strike me as I moved on through my day and my thoughts bounced back to this blog. It's my fault. And before you get to smug or cynical, it's yours too if you are a Christ follower.
You see, those doubters have not removed God from the throne. It is not His lack of power or wisdom or presence that causes them to doubt. Rather, it is the lack of our ability to reflect Christ purely that gives the world its doubt. Who can blame them? The Bible has always said that God's "Plan A" would be that His followers would reflect Him. When the reflection fades or gets mucky, no one sees the One they are missing.
We talk about a God of power but we trust more in our own economy, our own government, our own wisdom or our own talent to deliver us. We talk about a God of love and we turn our backs on a world dying of AIDs, hunger and loneliness. We talk about peace and we argue over petty things that have no eternal significance (for those who live in the Nashville area, you have to look no further than Belmont or Two Rivers to see what I am talking about). You want to know why the world ceases to believe...it's because we have ceased to reflect. In this crazy world, God brings order. In a lonely world, God brings love. In a world ravaged by war and conflict and disease and destruction, God brings hope and peace. And He chooses to put those on display in my life and yours. If they don't know it, it's because we don't show it (that was a pretty cool little phrase there. Came up with that one on my own...but it's true). If we don't show the world what Jesus looks like through our lives, then they will never have a reason to believe. They don't have to look like us or act like us or even like us as we are. They just have to be given the chance to see Jesus.
I pray that the rains come to Georgia. I have people there...lots of family and friends. I want it to rain for them. I want it to rain to honor a Governor who made a stand for his faith. But most of all, I want it to rain so some who doubt may believe and some who wavered will be more inclined to stand, to pray and to show the world who God really is. Let the rains come!!