The African Forum on Religion and Government (AFReG) calls on all Christians to increase our prayers as a faith community dialoguing on “Africans Rising Together: A Transformed Community for the 21st Century.”
Our first 2021 Webinar is entitled, “COVID…What Ails Us?” The following Scripture passage will serve as good preparation for this important event.
Now on the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women went to the tomb, taking the aromatic spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood beside them in dazzling attire. The women were terribly frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has been raised!” Luke 24:1-9
The narrative we find in Luke 24 is a timely reminder, especially in these COVID-impacted days, that all of us at some time or another will wrestle with profound uncertainty in our lives and find ourselves looking to heaven and asking, “What next?”
Figuring out what the Lord has for us, or which direction we’re to launch out into can be frustrating…having a general, perhaps vague idea or direction, but lacking specifics. We know we’re heading out on a journey, but not necessarily with a map.
As a follower of Christ, we may feel added pressure in not wanting to disappoint the LORD. As a result, we are often in “emergency mode” reacting to some new development and wrestling with life’s circumstances to reveal some clue that we missed or direction we overlooked.
Luke 24 has some wisdom for us all when we find ourselves living with the post-COVID tension of trying to figure out, “What next Lord?”
I like the women in Luke 24. When they set out for Jesus’ tomb, they had absolutely no idea about all they would experience. An empty tomb, an angelic visitation and message, a risen Christ, a message to share. I mean, we know that…NOW! But, none of that was in their playbook when they set out. But their experience gives us all an idea of how we might discern and experience what’s next.
If we’re to discern “What’s Next?” in our lives and find better direction in our life’s journey, we need to learn and remember that…God calls us to “Pursue our Purpose.”
It’s always helpful to remember that God has not promised perfect clarity in our walk with Him. The Holy Spirit’s leading is often not as precise as the Google maps we use on our smartphones. Facts are easier to grasp than faith; we’re saints seeking solid answers, cause and effect Christians, and yet, the Lord is not always as forthcoming with direction as we would like when we ask, “What Next?”
Proverb 19:21 reminds us, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail.” God often calls us to less planning, more purpose. But what is God’s purpose? More specifically, we all want to know, “What is His purpose for me?” That question is easier to ask, but harder to answer. But let me ask you right now, “What really pleases the Lord?” Prepare and pursue that!
The Church exists for that very reason. When Ephesians 2:10 says, “You are God’s workmanship, (some translations say masterpiece) created in Christ Jesus, to do works which He has prepared in advance for you to do.” That is God’s signpost, His purpose revealer that as you pursue Christ, you pursue your Christ-prepared purpose. Remember that His purpose in and for our lives…will always prevail.
Our Christian walk is not about a one-time, miraculous encounter and then it’s back to business as usual. It’s not simply a testimony to a great act the Lord has done for us or on our behalf. No. It is a journey. A marathon of grace. A flat-out, soul-encompassing focused pursuit of Christ Himself. More of Him; His Words, His Way; His very presence in every fiber of our being.
The Apostle Paul said in Acts 17, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” He stressed it again in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Dear AFReG friends, if we’re to have any hope at all as to finding our own, “What Next?”, I assure you, as does Scripture itself and the testimony of the women at an empty tomb, those answers will always be found as we pursue Christ, and Christ alone. Let our journey to find and experience more of Christ propel us to grab hold of that, as the Spirit gave Paul to remind us, “To apprehend that for which we have been apprehended…” That we may each have as our goal and purpose a course steadfastly set on our pursuit of Christ, with our souls rightly positioned to possess that same purpose. If we do so, like the saints of Luke 24…in our lives, in our churches and in His calling upon each of us, His purposes will surely prevail. Let us pray together:
We declare that throughout Africa and among those who call it home, despite the often perplexing environment and COVID circumstances around us, that we may experience our God’s purpose for us in the person of Christ.
WE MAY EACH BE SENSITIVE TO THE LEADING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PRAY FOR HEARTS TO BE OPEN TO HIS LEADING AND GUIDANCE.
WE SEEK GOD’S HEART FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET DISCOVERED THEIR WAY TO THE LORD. MAY WE RENEW OUR PURPOSE TO PROCLAIM HIM AS THE LORD WHO GIVES PURPOSE AND MEANING TO EVERY LIFE.
MAY WE EACH PRESS THROUGH THE LESSER DISTRACTIONS AND FOCUS UPON CHRIST’S DIVINE ASSIGNMENTS TO US TO BE AMBASSADORS AND SIGNPOSTS DECLARING THE WAY TO GOOD WORKS PREPARED BEFOREHAND BY THE LORD FOR EACH OF US.
WE PRAY TO EXPERIENCE THE FULLNESS OF GOD IN OUR LIVES, FAMILIES, COMMUNITY AND IN THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA AS WE PURPOSELY AND DELIBERATELY REACH OUT TO ONE ANOTHER IN COMPASSION AND UNDERSTANDING AS INSTRUMENTS OF GOD WHO IS REACHING OUT TO A WORLD IN SUCH DESPERATE NEED OF HIM.