Redemption in the Curse
By Dave Bateman
There’s something evil about weeds. They serve no purpose. You can’t eat them. They don’t have pretty flowers. Absolutely no redeeming value. They are a curse from God, seriously. Genesis 3 tells about the fall of mankind. All three participants in the fall received a consequence (or curse) from God. After God is done with the serpent and Eve He said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you.”
I don’t get my food from the 3/4 acre lot I live on, but I am familiar with painful toil and weeds. Most Saturdays I am either pulling weeds out of the gravel or hula hoeing them. In fact I have a certain muscle in my back that I refer to as my hula hoe muscle and I know I’m finished for the day once it seizes up.
The task is overwhelming. To manually weed such a large lot takes so much time and makes me feel small. Friends don’t understand why on Earth I do it. They tell me to hire someone, drag it with a tractor, or invest in some Round up. What they don’t understand is weeding is my Gethsemane. It’s where I go to meet with God.
Most of the time He is quiet and lets me work, but every so often He will speak to me. He will bring to my mind people to pray for and help me sort through problems. I don’t hear a voice, but I know in the stillness, the quiet of the wind, He is telling me He loves me and He is with me.
The work and the sweat pushes out the angst and keeps me humble. I connect with the dust from which I came and to which I will return. It doesn’t make sense how something so horrible can be beautiful and redemptive, but that’s how God works.
As I write this on a Saturday, it’s time again for me to go. God is calling me outside, to the weeds, the wind, and Himself.
By Tammy Grebel
I make prayer harder than it needs to be. Sometimes it can be a struggle and it can be intimidating. It can seem like a waste of time when I don’t get the answers I want. My prayers are often times selfish, and at times highlight my insecure faith. Prayer does not always come naturally, and I think we all, at times, struggle with it.
There are times in which I have full, long conversations with God. Other times they are more like quick little “text messages”. And other times, I have had what I call Concerts of Prayer. This is where my prayer continues off and on throughout the day.
A lot of times my prayers would start as a “laundry list”; just rattling off what I think I need, with no real conviction or feeling. “God please help me….” “Please be with…..” “Grant me…..” It was generally about me. The dictionary defines prayer as communion, and act of worship. When my prayers are about me, it is most definitely not an act of worship.
There are various examples of prayer in the Bible. Jesus shows us the way to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. It is like he knew prayer would not be easy for us. The Lord’s Prayer is not flowery or eloquent. It just speaks. It was a very heartfelt prayer from Jesus, as he knew his future….the cross. That is what I take away…a heartfelt conversation with God. Prayer then becomes wanting to be obedient to Him, knowing that, just as I listened to my children and was patient with them, He is the same, if not more so with me.
God wants us to seek Him. To commune with Him. He longs to be with us and included in our thoughts. He wants to talk with us during the good times and the bad. He even wants us to commune with him when we don’t really have much to say. Many times our most broken and messy prayers are also our best. They turn out to be our most heartfelt prayers. CS Lewis says:
I have a notion that what seem our worst prayers may really be, in God’s eyes, our best…
For these, perhaps, being nearly all, will come from a deeper level than feeling.
- CS Lewis, from Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Many times my prayers are a cry to believe that God really does “have it” and that I can give up control and let Him. My prayers and time with God has evolved. It has taken deliberate time, uncomfortableness, self-realization and giving up control. My God loves me. He wants me to be real with Him. He knows my heart already, he just wants me to talk to him about it. He wants me to include him. I just have to open the door to my heart and mind and let him. He doesn’t want me making it harder than it needs to be.
From upcoming events to random thoughts, each week this is the place to hear from a staff member or guest writer.