Last night I went to bed laboring in prayer over a concern of my heart for many years, a little impatient to see its resolution yet determined to persevere until God has His way in the situation. This morning it is clear that if I prayed without ceasing there wouldn't be enough time to cover all the bases. We live in a world where so much is wrong, even in the Church. My heart yearns for the day when Christ will return to gather His own to Himself, yet I know that until that time comes I must continue to do the work He has called me to do. So must we all. It is not enough to pray for revival in our country. We must also pray for revival in our churches and in our own hearts. We must take up the mantel of holiness and walk in obedience to His Word, loving others but leaving judgment of sin to Him. We must examine ourselves to see if any wickedness remains in us, removing the plank from our own eyes so that we can see to help others. We must put on the full armor of God, knowing that the battle has just begun and praying for the courage to stand when those around us fall. We must take the high road of faithfulness to the God we profess to believe, even if it means suffering persecution or ridicule at the hands of our neighbors, our families, and our friends. We must come out of our holy huddles and live among those who need Him most, actively putting feet to our faith and giving our time and resources where needed. We must spend time with God daily, seeking His direction through prayer and His Word for it is only by knowing Him that we will ever find peace and be made complete.
I know what some might say to all this because I live with those arguments everyday. But having walked that dark road of despair, living in a pit of sinful self-indulgence and compromising every value I was taught in my "religious" upbringing, I never found peace or fulfillment. It was only after receiving Jesus' free gift of salvation and entering into a personal relationship with Him that I began to experience the peace and joy I now have. I know God is real. I know that His ways are higher than my own. I never want to go back to my former way of living because I know what a mess I'd be.
I could lose everything that I hold dear -- loved ones, my job, my health -- but I can never lose the One who has become everything to me. Even on the hard days -- and I have plenty of those -- I know that I can trust Him. It took me a long time to be able to, but I know now that He is faithful, even when I am not. I want everyone I know to love and embrace Him as I do, yet I know that many won't. That is their choice, and God won't force Himself on anyone. But I will never cease to pray for the salvation of those I love, of those who matter not only to me but to God. That is MY choice.
God has given each of us free will to decide whether or not to follow Him. The choice is up to you. What will you do?
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