An open letter to the Christian blogger. You are not called to blog.
Our world is very broken. Just open any news website; you will plainly see the suffering in this world. It always has been and always will be until the Lord’s return.
When I think about half of what I know to be going on in the world, I find myself questioning, ‘What the hell am I doing, thinking these words on this page will do anything to help others?’ Especially during the holiday season, you have to wonder ‘Where are you, Lord? Where is your spirit and love?’
The Lord has given us dominion over all of the earth.
The reality is that the Lord has left us to our own devices for awhile. It’s why you and I both have free will. The Lord doesn’t force us to love Him or choose Him or believe in what He has done for us out of love on the cross.
We know according to His Word He has given us dominion over all of the earth, ‘The Heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men’ (Psalm 115:16). We also know, according to 1 John 5:19, ‘the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.’ A combination of the world being in both our hands, broken as we are, and the great deceiver in all his evilness is a pretty shit combination.
We, as bloggers, are abundantly privileged.
I know there’s no guarantee that anything I say here on this blog will ease others’ pain. Who am I to expect that my words could minister to the poor, downtrodden, broken hearted, and the dying? Who am I, sitting in this lovely warm house to instruct in wisdom?
Who am I to believe that I have a calling so special as to write for the Lord?
The truth is, I don’t. When I look at my life… I see excess. Abundance. Overflow. This blog is a part of that overflow. I have all that I need. This blog is a privilege among many other privileges. I mean, for example, I listened to a podcast this evening about quieting my mind for the Christmas season. Not to be dramatic but that sentence alone is rife with privilege.
I don’t want to sit here and write about being grateful for what I have today though. I am and being grateful does wonders for our spirit. But that post would not translate how I am feeling right now. In my heart it wouldn’t feel right to stop at ‘I am grateful today’ when I am questioning why so many suffer.
I can’t possibly dream to hold my life as a standard for anything. I can’t weigh my own life, along with the abundance of ‘things’ I possess, as a standard for what others lack. Nor would I want to. It easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person, and we’re not simply talking money, to enter the Kingdom of God.
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:24.
The more we have, the less we depend on the Lord. The less we depend on the Lord, the less we seek Him. The less we seek Him, the less we know Him. And when we don’t know Him, we have no relationship with Him. And when we have no relationship with Him, we have no place in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23.
To simply do good works in His name is not enough according to this verse. In the same way, to simply be grateful for the blessings we have isn’t enough either.
We are called into a deep, intimate relationship with the Lord.
So, if you don’t know anything about me, hi, my name is Rachel, and I like to overthink and worry like it’s no ones business. And so, that’s why you’ll find me listening to podcasts about quieting my mind.
But in all my worry, the Lord keeps asking me, gently, “Do you trust me?” every time. Quietly, oh so quietly.
The Lord, in his patience and love, has been bringing to the surface every moment of unbelief whether that’s in the form of, ‘Can you really save my loved ones?’ to ‘What about all of those who are suffering in this life?’ to ‘Can you really heal this broken friendship?’ to ‘Am I doing what I should be doing with my blog?’
I don’t intentionally doubt Him.
But, when you read verses like, ‘Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him,” (Mark 11:23) and ‘‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28) you can’t help but have expectations.
For me, when I read this verse, I expect the Lord to move in the natural world. I expect the Lord to save those that are suffering or in need in ways that I would with my own two hands.
I expect the Lord to provide a boat for those that are stranded at sea, you know what I mean?
I expect, expect, expect.
I wonder, Why, Lord, if you are sovereign do you allow bad things to happen? Why do people suffer? Where is the love in this world? How am I to sit here and write a post about gratefulness when so many others suffer? What is my role in all of this? Surely it’s not writing in some cushy bed with the heating on and a vat of coffee next to me, is it? (PS. Can you see why I listen to podcasts about quieting my mind?)
So here is my piece of advice for when you are overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next in this broken world.
Look to the cross. In our sin, He loved us still.
The reason I could not sit here and write about cultivating gratefulness, while important, is because it isn’t enough for us to ‘presume on the richers of his kindness, and forbearance, and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance’ (Romans 2:4).
It isn’t enough to be grateful this season.
I cannot rely on God’s patience and goodness, giving thanks for the many blessings I have, but walk in unrepentance.
This season, I am called to repent my unbelief no matter how small of a thought it comes in the form of. This is incredibly important when you are doubtful. So, when you are doubtful or afraid, simply repent. Ask for the Lord’s forgiveness and instruction. Lay it at the cross.
We are called to simply (or, sometimes not so simply) walk by faith.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ Romans 1:17
We are not necessarily called to blog. In this season, walking by faith for you may include writing. In the next, maybe not.
Maybe in this season where you are doubtful of the Lord, you are called to come to Him in repentance. Maybe you are called to simply be present by being an attentive mother, a dependent friend, or a patient wife. Maybe you are called to forgive someone who hurt you. Maybe you are called to be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or witness to someone seeking the Lord. Who knows?
What I do know is the Lord didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love and self control.
The Holy Spirit helps us to walk by faith. And, by doing this, as Emily Freeman’s podcast reiterates over and over, we are called to “do the next right thing in love.” Because we can’t fix a world that is bound by its brokenness.
But we can be the Lord’s hands and feet. We can do the next right thing in love. We can share the Good News of the cross.
It is challenging to believe we are doing much of anything with our words on a screen. Every time I look up, I see suffering and pain. And I look back at my feeble words and think, really? What is this even accomplishing? But let me tell you something. That is the voice of the enemy.
The last thing the enemy wants is for God’s children to spread the Good News of the Gospel in a broken and hurting world. The enemy will even use that broken world to convince you that what you are doing is meaningless and silly.
So, I may want to believe I have a calling to write for the Lord. And, God forms us in particular ways so perhaps I was made to be a writer by the unique set of gifts the Lord has blessed me with (namely, a love for writing and a passion to blog).
But the real calling, the calling all of us have, is to spread the Good News of the cross.
He uses our talents and passions as a foundation and a catapult.
How, then, can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And ow are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ Romans 10:14-15.
Rest assured: the Lord has a plan for you and your words.
It isn’t a plan that we can understand. It isn’t something we can measure, or predict, or expect. But really, we know all that we need to know right where we are, in every season, in every moment, which is the knowledge of the grace of God.
It is our own understanding that leads us to believe we lack. We can even fall victim to believing we lack because we live in abundance. We believe we lack an ability to teach or share the Gospel because of the privileges we have. I’ve certainly thought this.
But, when the Lord asked me in my downward spiral of worry yesterday morning on my commute to work, “Do you trust me?” I said yes.
Pray with me.
Yes, Lord, thank you for the cross. I believe in You. I trust You, even when it is hard and I can’t comprehend Your ways. I repent my unbelief. Please make me anew in You, Jesus Christ. Help me to walk obediently in Your ways. I trust that You work all things together for our eternal good as children of God. I know you have a plan for our lives. I know you move mountains every day by the depth of your mercy. Please show me how to walk in the dark, how to walk by faith even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Help me to have a childlike faith and trust you. Show me what it means to trust you. Lead me not into temptation and deliver me from evil. Though the arrow flies in the terror of night, I trust you, Lord. Surely goodness, surely mercy, right beside me all my days of my life and I will dwell in your house forever. I bless your Holy name. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.