Becoming a voice of calm amidst a sea of clamor might not be as easy to do as we would hope. Modern history is proving to be quite chaotic from virtually any vantage point anyone might take. We continue to hear voices of avarice, cries of pain, screams of protest, words of descent, differing opinions, outcries of injustice, but fewer and fewer calming voices of reason. What does God expect of us in these times? It is really no different than He expects of us at any time, to trust Him, to listen to Him, and to love each other. It's just that times like these make us ask more loudly, "What does He really want from Christians?" God has an expectation that as Christians we will function as decent people while having differing opinions and values. Believe it or not, all Christians do not share the same beliefs even when drawn directly from the same Book. True, we usually stand on the principles that the Faith is built upon, but not much more than that can be agreed upon among us based on how and why we rest facets of our Faith in different camps of thought and opinion. These very notions are contributing right now to the very different interpretations of the Bible as the basis for our narrowly held political stances. What is striking to me is that despite the obvious swerving toward one value over another, like cars dodging each other to avoid head-on collisions, we can't seem to find our way to the one thing that Christianity espouses louder than any other message… GOD loves us all and wants us to love each other to prove we love Him. At the end of the day, you can slice this, dice this, judge this, but this is essentially what the whole Book is about.
So what can Christians really do to make things better? We can stop adding to the horrific sounds of despair drowning us and start eradicating the damage those sounds have already caused, including what we might personally have added to it (repent as you go). I am not some Pollyanna with my head in the sand believing that all we can do, should do, is pray. I am a realist, a pragmatist, an activated, motivated Christian who knows that there is nothing better I can do than to add my prayers to the voices of those who will stop this maddening cycle of rhetoric, fear, condemnation, and hate. I too feel the hurt of hatred, and I sense the sadness of unwantedness that I have done nothing to deserve, and I feel justified in hurting, but this is not that! GOD is counting on me in spite of pain, maybe even because of it. Prayer keeps me calm in the challenge of these strong feelings so that I remain relevant in the fight. Prayer added to anything GOD asks us to do empowers us to be effective in getting it done. Prayer as an active activity accomplishes more than we will ever understand. Learning how to pray is avoided or taken for granted by most because it is a skillset that most assume they already have. Ironic I think to have a tool we refuse to learn how to use. If I pick up a bow and arrow for the first time, it is doubtful that I will hit a bullseye dead center with the first shot or then lay it down, pick it up later, and again expect a bullseye. Powerful, intentional, well-studied, scriptural, definitively spoken prayers are the ones heard and the ones that produce evidence.
If we are going to become voices of calm that calm others, and more importantly, that calm the airwaves, it stands to reason that we must be calm ourselves. Calm amidst chaos comes from trusting GOD and wanting what He wants. Despite great temptation to hire ourselves, it is not our job to decide who is right or wrong, good or evil, righteous or sinful. Right now COVID-19 doesn't care about any of that. We need a cure, we need GOD's mercy and His answers. We need a supernatural, divine intervention of Peace infused into our leaders' hearts. We need to be calm while being vigilant and determined. Yes!!! The time to speak courageously is now. The time to speak truthfully is now. The time to speak responsibly is now. "Justice and mercy be ours, O' Lord, we pray." But let us speak reassuringly the words of Life that GOD desires and let us be a calming force for love when our voice is to be heard. Bitter and sweet waters cannot flow simultaneously from the same cistern. Prayer is the ultimate protest, the ultimate cry, the ultimate response to injustice. Let every word, thought, or said, even our private or public protests be tempered, moderated, and modulated by our prayers! When we learn to pray, we earn prayer's reassuring rewards.