Friday, August 29, 2008

Standing in Unity

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

                        1 Peter 5.9

Never Alone

Every Christian hits rough patches of dejection. Often they immediately follow moments when our connection with fellow believers feels strongest. This happened to Jesus. Praying in Gethsemane, He was vulnerable to violence and arrest, yet He turned to find His disciples asleep. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” He asked Peter. (Matthew 26.40) Just prior to this, at supper, he and the others promised undying support for Christ. Now, when Jesus needed them at their most alert, they slept on the job.

Remember, we are never alone. First, of course, God stands with us. Deuteronomy 3.16 promises, “The LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you.” But there’s also great comfort and power in the awareness that when we feel alienated and forgotten, other Christians suffer with similar emotions. We may not personally know them, but they’re there beside us nonetheless. That’s all we need to know.

The Gethsemane Connection

It’s impossible to read Peter’s words without connecting them to his Gethsemane experience. And although we draw solace from his testimony that we’re never alone in suffering, his main thrust warns against the same mistake he and the others made. Following Christ puts each of us at different points on the path. Some of us are more experienced, farther down the road than those who recently began walking with Jesus. Still, we’re in this together. There’s no time to take it easy. The enemy is on the prowl, looking for anyone he can devour. We have to resist him with discipline and vigilance for everyone’s sake. We can’t be lulled into a false sense of security. That puts our survival at risk. Neither can we overlook our less seasoned brothers and sisters. They’re easy prey for dark forces luring them back to defeat or isolating them from fellowship.

The GLBT Reawakening

For too long, the world believed the lion’s lie: our self-acceptance and God’s acceptance were mutually exclusive. The GLBT community’s faith went dormant. That’s no longer true. Today, we see a magnificent GLBT reawakening, as more of us reject rejection to fulfill our destiny as legitimate believers. This has rattled many cages. And with our numbers growing there’s more opposition on the way. But always know this: in front, behind, and beside you, there are millions of true believers, gay and straight, standing in unity with you. You are not alone.

Though it often feels like we're alone, walking upstream while others drive the opposite way, we never forget we're surrounded by millions of others standing in unity with us.

(Tomorrow: Standing in the Gap)

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