The tragedy of George Floyd…a global pandemic…high racial tensions…bludgeoned economies…rioters, looters, and anarchists…churches locked down…these are indeed extraordinarily challenging times. Experts abound who are proclaiming many possible solutions to these challenges. In reality, no one knows for sure how to solve them. As a result, we are left to sort through the strong rhetoric coming at us from all sides without much to guide our thinking and processing of all that we see and hear around us.
I’m writing this letter from Minneapolis, the city whose images have filled our screens for the last few days with violence, mayhem, and shock. We are stunned by what we see. And yet, we should not be stunned. Similar images, from around the world, have been filling our screens for nearly a century. Corruption, injustice, anarchy, and other evidences of the fallenness of the world have been with us since the Garden of Eden. It’s just hard to see them coming from your own backyard.
Please pray for our school and for Bethlehem Baptist Church as we seek to be beacons of light and truth amid this darkness. Pray for us as we join with the church in the following statement from the elders:
“We are heartbroken by the horrible killing of George Floyd. Bethlehem Baptist Church believes in the sacred value of his life and all human life from conception to the coffin. Our God-given sense of justice was violated in watching the video of his death. We mourn this senseless loss of life, we pray for justice, and we confess that something needs to change. We are committed to be part of that change as we partner with other local churches in gospel ministry. We call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, help, and healing for our city.”
In this cultural context, then, I want to encourage you with a most fitting parable:
And he [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? zWill he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
While there is much here that could be brought to bear on our present challenges, the first verse and the last are the keys to this parable. It is in these two verses that we hear most clearly the Lord’s exhortation for each of us.
The main point of the parable is clearly stated in the first verse: that we “ought always to pray and not lose heart.” It doesn’t matter what our circumstances are, or what condition our society is in, or what dangers are looming—we are to pray continually and “not lose heart” and be filled with hope, knowing that the Lord will one day wipe away every tear from every believer’s eye as we join him in paradise. This is faith. This is hope. This is “not losing heart.” And this is the hallmark of all who are trusting wholly in Jesus for our joy and salvation.
So let us all pray continually and not lose heart in these days. Jesus is coming again. We will see him face to face on that day. May it be soon!
In full confidence of the return of the King,
- Please pray for peace in the city of Minneapolis and the surrounding communities.
- Please continue to pray for Bethlehem College & Seminary during these extraordinary times. We need Solomonic wisdom to lead wisely and well.
- And, as always, please keep praying for our school’s finances. There are many institutions of higher learning out there that are struggling over financial matters and the coronavirus situation isn’t helping. Please pray for the benevolence of God to continue to be upon us and for us to finish out our fiscal year strongly.