Is anyone reading this? If so, are you tired of waiting out this pandemic? I know I am! The timeliness of these scriptures couldn't be more appropriate for our current situation. Take a more in-depth look and see!
The passage from Romans says right at the beginning, "Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans."
It's pretty easy to grow weary of prayer in these dark times. It's unbelievably simple to dive deep into despair over the virus, the injustices of racism, and the resumption of federal death penalty executions. So even if we don't have words, just feelings, those are prayers our God hears.
Along the lines of justice, Jesus teaches us some valuable lessons as he fulfills the prophecy from Isiah about teaching with stories.
I have an exercise for us to do. It is going to involve social media and observation, so hang on!
"... if you weed the thistles, you'll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I'll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn."
Scroll through your Facebook (yes, Facebook specifically). Notice the dichotomy, hypocrisy, and outright proliferation of injustice. People identify as pro-life rejoicing in the federal death penalty—people living by pro-life ethics, creating a denial of masks' effectiveness against spreading COVID-19. People are rallying against healthcare being a right.
Those folks are thistles. Yes, that's a harsh judgment, and I may suffer for it, but that doesn't change the violations by any measure. However, it's not a condemnation of their souls, yet.
Now, take another scroll and notice all the proper information, the welcomed humor, and the people advocating for justice and rights. Do you see how they are the wheat among the thistles?
This message and lesson from Jesus are this: "The picture of thistles pulled up and burned is a scene from the final act. The Son of Man will send his angels, weed out the thistles from his kingdom, pitch them in the trash, and be done with them. They are going to complain to high heaven, but nobody is going to listen. At the same time, ripe, holy lives will mature and adorn the kingdom of their Father. Are you listening to this, Really Listening?"
In humility, I am not sure I am wheat or thistle. My hope is by having you examine your social media sphere; you see scripture playing out. My intention is not to strike fear or judgment on anyone, but to point out that Jesus speaks the truth, all of the time. Even in the echo chambers of social media.
So as we grow impatient, tired, angry, and maybe even combative, let those feelings flow to God. Words aren't needed at all, just honesty of heart.
How's your heart today?