These past few days, my heart has just felt heavy, much like yours probably has. And then, to see the news this morning, my heart felt like it was being crushed. As I started reading the news for information about a terrible tragedy for the third day in a row, I felt God overwhelmingly tell me, I didn't need more information - I just needed time with Him. So I sat in prayer and I read Scripture. I don't even know how I landed at these words from Jesus (obviously, God navigated!), but I thought I'd share in case they can give you comfort today like they gave me.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me."
- Jesus (John 17:20-23)
Did you catch that? "I am praying for all who will ever believe in me..." The Lord has already prayed for us, for today, for the past few days. Jesus' prayer for us, if you and I profess to be His followers, is that we show such extreme unity - in the face of all that wants to divide us - that God's grace is unmistakable.
Unity is God's desire; division is Satan's.
If we find ourselves - as those who profess to love Jesus - unwilling, in anger or annoyance or disbelief, to listen to an African American brother/sister share their fears; if we find ourselves unwilling, in anger or annoyance or disbelief, to listen to a police officer related brother/sister share their fears; if we profess to be a Christ follower and cannot listen to one another and be unified, then we disregard the One who gave His life for us and we disregard the prayer He's prayed specifically for us. Maybe our prayer should be, "Lord, how can we, as Your people, be unified in all of this so You can be glorified?"
Unified so God can be glorified... that's what's on my mind today. How can I united with my fellow believers so others can see God and come to know him?
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” - 1 Peter 3:8
“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” - 1 Corinthians 12:26
“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” - 1 Corinthians 1:10
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” - 2 Corinthians 13:11
“And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” - Galatians 3:27-28
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” - Romans 12:9-10