Most of us struggle with praying for the people we do know, much less people we do not!
However, years ago, a friend wrote a heartfelt letter detailing his petitions before God on behalf of his future wife--who he had yet to even meet.
Now, I will admit it: I am a cynic.
And I read his letter with a cynic's eye.
Yet, cynical as I am, I had nothing but positive regard for the thought behind his gesture.
Praying God would prepare his heart and the heart of his future wife struck me as a pious and worthwhile.
Indeed, if you listen to Contemporary Christian Music, songs like Rebecca St. James's "Wait for Me", as well as Praying for You" by Mandisa illustrate an evangelical trend of actively praying for a marriage relationship not even on the horizon.
I find this a well-intentioned way of reminding ourselves that prayer must form the locus of the Christian life.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray "thy [God's] will be done", so to pray God's will be done in the life of an unknown mate is commendable in my eyes.
So, let me explain why I am not praying for my future wife.
I think I did once or twice, but the bar was pretty low, like "Lord, can you make sure she exists. please?" and "I hope you didn't go to the wrong address!"
But, seriously, while I tend to think positively about prayers for a future Mr. or Mrs. Right, it is not something I can do.
And it is not that I do not want to get married.
I challenge you to find another 21 year old male who wants to get married and have 19 kids (no joke) like I do.
Indeed, the intensity of this possible future generated persistent feelings of "missing out" as childhood friends began marrying and starting their own families.
However, my life was altered upon being given godly counsel to think about my life and the ways I was serving God at the time and ask how that would change with the responsibilities of a marriage relationship.
Beginning to read 1 Corinthians 7 deeply with fresh eyes to see, something stirred in my heart and I had to face the possibility that I would prefer to serve the Lord as a single man.
Phrases like "free from concern", "concerned about the Lord’s affairs", "devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit", and "undivided devotion to the Lord" (vv. 32-35) in describing the single Christian had such a ring of truth and appealed to me on a deep spiritual level.
Would the singleness last for a few years, decades, or for life?
I did not know.
All I knew was that dividing my time, decisions, finances, and thoughts between God and another person in a marriage relationship was a thought that made me unhappy.
Again, it is not a matter of not wanting to be married, just that the idea of giving my "best years" to anyone but God has changed how I view the options before me.
(Also, as an aside, imagine me trying to explain this to a group of teen guys, which I did, who looked at me like I confessed to plucking the wings off butterflies and enjoying it.)
I am not praying for my future wife because I want to keep my heart open to the possibility there will not be a future wife.
And even if marriage is to come, I want to serve God now with a heart undivided, not waiting or anticipating a possible future relationship state, but using my singleness as way to bring God glory and to testify to the all-sufficiency of Christ.
If anyone takes this post as "anti-marriage" or even anti-praying-for-your-future-spouse, they are crazy.
The same Paul who wrote 1 Corinthians 7 also wrote Ephesians 5.
Jesus was single, but he affirmed the sacred, divine origin of the marriage bond.
Some of the godliest and most inspiring believers I know are modern-day Priscillas and Aquillas who have mentored and supported me.
I thank God for them.
At the same time, I believe God is still calling folks like the Apostle Paul and others who, as the Lord Jesus said and did, will "make themselves Eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of God".
Wrestling with the conviction that such a person is me, I have tabled preparation for a future relationship in favor of meeting God where I am and asking Him to use me as I am, no strings attached, for however long my present state brings Him glory.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
It's been 60 years since the Sexual Revolution, 9 years since the defeat of Proposition 8, and 2 years since gay marriage went national, and gay people still have the gall to keep existing!
Indeed, they not only continue to exist, but insist on showcasing their deviant way of life on television and in the cinema, known to all as the Last Refuges of all things wholesome.
I hear the new flick "50 Shades Darker" is all about the benefit of being disciplined!
A different kind of discipline?
But, seriously, all this gay stuff is getting out of hand.
How are families across America supposed to enjoy the copious straight fornication in "How to Get Away with Murder", for example, with interruptions from the charming Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) and all his meddlesome gay fornication (an actual thing I heard, by the way)?
This is it, folks. Sodom and Gomorrah.
Helming this rainbow train of moral decrepitude is Disney, which recently snuck a gay kiss scene into one of its cartoon TV shows and will feature a gay romance in the upcoming live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast".
Call Nana, call the youth group, call your Christian Mingle date--movie night is cancelled!
Wait a second, everyone, never fear, the Evangelicals are here!
Yes, the Evangelicals, the ultimate arbiters of moral values and duties (with paid time off during election years).
We've stopped burning library copies of "The Shack" long enough to focus our moral energy on Disney's homo-ness with all the intensity of some kind of righteous Care Bear Stare.
No one less than the fiery son of evangelist Billy Graham, Franklin, has already called for a Christian boycott of the film and it's "LGBT agenda".
Ah, the venerable Franklin Graham.
You remember Frank, don't you?
Or, as his friends like to call him, the Charles Martel of Evangelicalism who, when not demonizing gay people, spends his time demonizing Muslims:
"We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled. Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized--and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad. During World War 2, we didn't allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans. Why are we allowing Muslims now?"
After the Jihadist inspired shooting that killed four in Chattanooga, while all the fake "liberal" Christians advocated against sweeping generalizations and rising tensions, Graham knew that what the raging fire of our country's division really needed was some kerosene.
And with gas can in hand, he was apparently just the man for the job!
Lest we forget, it was Graham who helped us refocus the issues when Donald Trump was found to have bragged about groping women and trying to cheat on his wife with married women.
"No one is giving him a pass", Graham wrote.
Yeah, guys, Franklin Graham definitely did not give Donald Trump a pass.
I mean, sure, he voted for him and all, but did you see that stern Facebook post he wrote?
He even used the word "inexcusable."
Joining Graham in the holy war is One Million Moms (a project arm of the American Family Association) whose sterling record in the war against having to see gay people is renowned.
You'll recall it was One Million Moms who tried to force J.C. Penny to fire its spokeswoman Ellen Degeneres because....wait...lemme check my notes...one moment...oh, that right: she's a lesbian!
"Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business", the group wrote, continuing, "More sales will be lost than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly."
Because apparently it's okay to buy clothes designed by gay people as long you don't have to see their faces on TV.
LifeSiteNews, family associations across the nation, and at least one drive-in theater have also made it clear they will not stand for the advance of the Gay Agenda, even in the form of a tiny gay subplot in a movie overwhelmingly about a beauty and a beast.
And all God's people said: are you kidding?
While I believe the crusaders on the religious right believe they are fighting the good fight, it's the very battles they choose that condemn them.
We just look so silly.
And not the self-sacrificial, full of grace and truth, love your neighbor, advance the Kingdom of God at your expense kind of silliness that pleases God and confuses the world.
Sounds so familiar...
We live in a free, modern, liberal democracy where everyone can express themselves, whether in media or sitting next to you at the Waffle House, with unparalleled freedom.
This means that, as Christians, we will be surrounded by things that contradict our convictions, including same-sex relationships.
I do not begrudge anyone for not seeing a movie because it upsets their conscience, nor do I disagree with those who find the addition of a gay subplot in "Beauty and the Beast" odd, if not extraneous.
But don't make this about Christianity.
We are surrounded by sin and compromise in our churches, in our communities, and in our families, yet we embarrass ourselves by freaking out at anything related to the "normalization" of gay people.
Of course, we should not support what the Bible clearly says is sinful.
Yet how deeply troubling that we seem more concerned about safeguarding our beloved childhood tales than with safeguarding the Faith against the seduction of power.
When will we wake up and recognize we the builders of a New Kingdom, not the clean up crew for this old one?
See you at the movies.