Assumptions

I had a conversation today with Mark Glaeser, Minister of Music at our Providence Campus, about assumptions. And it got me thinking…

We assume that we’ll outlive our children.

We assume that we’ll grow old together.

We assume that we’ll avoid the health issues that others have endured.

We assume that we’ll have this job for a long time.

We assume that we’ll find a job.

We assume that we’ll have enough money to pay our bills.

We assume that our children will grow up in a safe environment.

We assume that we’ll be treated fairly.

We assume that our friends will always be our friends.

We assume that life will be better for our children and our grandchildren, than it has been for us.

We assume that there will be food for our children to eat.

e assume that those charged with helping us will indeed help us.

We assume that when we tell the truth, people will believe us.

But, maybe… …maybe some of us don’t assume these things, and we plead for help.

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

Some of us may have histories that tell us not to assume some, or any, of these things. Some of us may have expectations that reflect a history of difficult life experiences, a history that translates into assumptions of hardship and struggle, pain and distrust, suspicion, and contempt.

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

God doesn’t promise us that life will be easy. In fact, we hear of struggles throughout the Bible. For example, Job, in responding to a friend’s advice about some of the struggles Job is going through, says, “Is not all human life a struggle?” (Job 7:1a). Yeah. Sometimes it feels like that.

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

We know that the Apostle Paul had his share of struggles. Writing to the Christians in Philippi, Paul acknowledges their struggle and encourages them to be together, to be of one spirit. “We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it” (Philippians 1:30).

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

My friend, Wil, is a successful businessman in the Ballantyne (south Charlotte, NC) area. I’ve known him for over 20 years and have great respect for him. He happens to be black. I was appalled recently when he shared that he has been stopped by police on several occasions while doing his job—simply taking pictures of new properties that his agency has recently insured. To hear his stories pains my heart. His stories of decades of systemic racism (about which I was really oblivious) saddened me greatly. I pray that we will find a way to respect each other, regardless of our skin color, while finding ways to support those who truly work to keep us safe.

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

My nephew, Blaine, is a police office in California. He is a good man. He has witnessed people doing unthinkable things in the shadows of protests—opportunists, camouflaging their violent actions within the peaceful protests of others. When you talk with him, it’s easy to see that his intent is to keep people safe and to deal fairly with those who purposely cause trouble and break the law.  He acknowledges that there are some bad apples in law enforcement, as there are in any profession. And the bad apples can make the whole basket of apples smell bad.

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

There are those who are looking to stir up violence. There are those who are frustrated and are looking for ways to make their voices heard. There are those who are crying for change. There are those who are complacent and remain silent to injustice. There are those who are caught in the midst of the struggle. There are those who work to make change. Merciful God, I pray for each of them, and for myself, that You might bring understanding.

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

May we all conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of Christ, so that, despite our shared struggles—or maybe “because of” our shared struggles—we might see and share the joy of faith.

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

I assume that many of you are carrying heavy hearts right now, just as I am. The COVID-19 crisis has been hard enough. Now, to layer on the reality of the economic challenges many are facing, to see the effects of continued racism in our country and our world, and to hear of the racism that so many have endured for so long, to see the destruction that some are causing and the violence that is being stirred up, to read and hear hateful comments about others… My heart is heavy. And I assume many of yours are, too.

Along with Pastors Scott, Drew, Melody, and Matt, I am always willing to listen.  Call one of us, or email one of us, if you’d like to chat. Don’t assume that you are struggling alone with these issues. As the Apostle Paul tells us, we are all in this struggle together.

Healing God, hear our prayer. In your mercy, answer us.

Praying for peace and understanding (and assuming that you are as well…),

Pastor Tenny

GENEROUS LIVING