Friday, November 2, 2018

The Vulgar Mistake

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call.
 
Ps 102:1-2

This prayer was offered to God by a people threatened with obliteration. Calvin said that "no one could utter these words without profaning the Name of God, unless they were actuated by a sincere and earnest affection of heart." It is common these days for Christians to claim to be oppressed by those who simply disagree with them, and claim affliction when they are but mildly inconvenienced. What nonsense! Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best in 1838 when he said, "Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."

I should always pray to God, regardless of my circumstances. But I need not pretend to God that I am truly threatened when I know that I am but having a minor spat with a neighbor. God knows better. A better prayer would be for reconciliation and understanding.

There are real problems in the world, Lord. Some of your children are literally under the gun, imprisoned, and driven from their homes. Help me to put my own inconveniences in perspective, and instead of listening to my prayers for deliverance, place within my heart a spirit of compassion and reconciliation; in the Name of Jesus Christ my Lord, Brother to all, who taught me to pray...