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We are confronting wildly challenging problems that, in a fallen world, have no easy answers. Problems like: How do we navigate a global pandemic? How do I better love my Black and Brown brothers and sisters crying out for justice? How do I vote and not seek salvation in a political party? How do I reconcile how differently my Christian brothers and sisters feel called to build the Kingdom here and now?
The only antidote I have found is deep prayer for "the other side." When I lay awake in bed, wrestling with anxiety, bitterness and sorrow, I find deep solace in praying for the individuals and groups that appear farthest from me. "God, break their hearts for what breaks Yours. Tear down their idols, including the idolatry of making You into their own image. Open their eyes to see others with great empathy. Allow them to better love their neighbors as themselves. Draw them near so that in everything they do, they act in accordance with your will."
And in praying for them, I find my words, like arrows, fly straight back to me. "Oh God, draw me so close that I become who you created me to be. Soften my heart to love your children as you do. Don’t let me have my way. Don’t let me make you into my own image. Teach me how to love you better and in doing so, love others better. Show me how to build the Kingdom here and now as we wait, in joyful anticipation, for the return of the only Rescuer. Thank you so much that my hope is in a new heaven and a new earth without brokenness or sorrow."
It helps me see the log in my eye. It focuses me on the thing I can control – my relationship with the Author of this great, big, messy, rescue story. And it’s the only way I know to trade in my self-righteousness for the only Righteousness that matters.
- Anna Kraus Smith '05