Monday, 12 November 2012

Ezra, the Example

I was reading through the book of Ezra a little while ago when something caught my attention…
In Chapter 9 God’s people disobey Him and the leaders come to tell Ezra. He was genuinely upset with them but instead of abandoning them to their sin, Ezra prayed for them. But not just for them – with them!
He hadn’t sinned himself, he hadn’t even idly sat by and knowingly let the people sin – for he knew nothing of it - yet when it came time for him to pray he sticks by them, in unity, using the word ‘our’ multiple times (verses 6 and 7) – ‘our sins’, ‘our guilt’ – instead of the words ‘them’ and ‘theirs’.
He includes himself in the list of people responsible.
Wow.
This man not only loved these people, but he had a Godly understanding of responsibility. He does the right thing, even though he could have so easily threw up his hands and said ‘not my problem, sort it out yourself’.
I imagine Ezra in this instance being like a father; the father of children (God’s people) who have hurt another child (Jesus). He does what any good father would do and takes them to house of the wronged child’s parent (God) so the children can say sorry and he (as the father) can say sorry too. The father (Ezra) didn’t hurt the child (Jesus) personally, but he had responsibility over the people who did, so it’s his place to apologize alongside them.
In taking on the fatherly role in the situation, Ezra is imitating God himself, as we are all called to do, and I was challenged by that.
I pray that, in future, if my friends or family get into trouble that I would mirror Christ, just as Ezra did, and stick by them and pray for them even if my initial reaction is to walk away to face the consequences alone. 

Ponderings about how God is (and isn’t) Working in my Friendships

I seem to be okay at making acquaintances, fine at making casual friends, but a bit crap at finding people who’re willing to become pure, unadulterated, great friends – y’know, the type you can tell anything too, the ones who trust you with all their secrets and the ones that’ll stick by you, and love you, no matter what.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have some of these people (enough to count on one hand, with fingers to spare) and I am extremely grateful that I do. Words literally cannot express how much I love them, and I had enough years of being alone, without any of those kinds of friends to really have perspective on what I’m saying right now. I know there are people out there who were like I used to be, people who have no-one and it actually breaks my heart. I feel bad for having a few friends in my life that fit the bill when others have none, but sometimes, those few don’t seem like enough; especially when they’re all so far away.

I consider real fellowship to be more than small talk between acquaintances after a church service, I consider it to be more like the type of friendship I listed above and I don’t have that (not here – where I’m currently living – anyway).
Maybe my definition of fellowship is wrong, maybe my standards are too high or my expectations of people too unrealistic, but I really would like some real, true, honest-to-God friends in this country; I’m longing for it so badly.
I’m praying that God will either introduce people into my life, help me connect with people already in my life, or show me the way to a new life.

It strikes me as completely possible that I’m the problem here, that there are people around who’re willing to be that kind of friend towards me but I’m just not seeing it.

It also strikes me that perhaps – just perhaps – God hasn’t provided these people in this place because I’m not meant to be here long term.
I’ve never really had firm roots here, never had a reason or a desire to stay and maybe there’s a reason for that; maybe God has in mind for me somewhere different to settle and I couldn’t really be happy there, if I was happy here; but hey – I don’t know, these are just thoughts coming to me at 4.53 am that I have to write down to stop them from taking over my head when I’m trying to finish a novel.