Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.
Ok, I must confess, the Apostle Paul challenges me with this passage. Initially I told myself, Paul never met our political leaders of this century! Ah, but that’s a cop out, for the human condition has not changed from Paul’s day. What I really want is for God to place His Holy Spirit in our civic leaders so that they govern in godly ways. I say this because clearly, I can find all kinds of faults in their leadership and ability to do what I deem is righteous. Am I wrong in this line of thinking? Admittedly yes, and it did not occur to me until I was driving in to church on Monday morning how screwed this line of thinking was.
Perhaps we are alike in our desire for God to fulfill our will instead of His Will. If we trust that God is in charge, and it is God who placed local, national and international leaders in places of authority, then should it not be a conversation we have with God in our discernment—our prayer time? How is God using all of these various leaders to draw us closer in relationship? If we listen to the world, we can easily become distraught and full of fear. A battle is raging with leaders of our country, Russia, Germany, Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea. It seems that all-out war is on our doorstep! The sabers are rattling.
However, I cannot help but wonder if this is a powerful opportunity for us to pray intently for all of these leaders and the countries they represent. Perhaps it is an opportunity to pray for our own enlightenment. Is God speaking to us to be in dialogue and actually WORK for peace? What is God calling us to be or to do? Are we so convinced that our ethos is correct that we are no longer open to hearing another opinion? Are we afraid to admit that we may be wrong? …but what if we’re right?
Honest conversation and heartfelt prayer gets messy. Opening our hopes and fears to others is frightening and takes great courage. Having those same conversations with the Holy Creator is even more difficult…fear and awe come to mind. If we are to be a “cog” in God’s plan for this world, then how do we respond?
Do we honestly succumb to the authority of our civic leaders? Do we ask questions and hold them accountable? Do we wait with patience for resolution? Do we continue to bring our worries and issues to our Creator; after all, didn’t God place these people in leadership? I think yes to all the above. I believe God intends for us to be engaged, but with compassion, honesty and a willingness to listen.
Lord, we certainly do not have the answers we seek, but You do. There is much about this world You created that worries us even onto fear. Though we may question those who lead us, we should not question the authority You have place in them. We admit God, that we struggle. May our very struggle bring us closer to you and to each other. Lord in your mercy, we pray for all of those you have placed in authority to lead your people—lead us. Thank you Lord for hearing our prayer and giving us the courage to seek Your wisdom and blessing. Amen!