Has God ever placed an inexplicable burden on your heart? Those instances when He plants an idea and won’t let you move from it? Perhaps, you know the kind. We might dismiss it, attempting to brush it away. However, like invisible ink, the writing remains. God’s message clings and demands clarity, because He desires to accomplish His purposes. He may need to shine more light upon the situation until we finally see its significance. Eventually, ink invisible no longer because God illuminated what once we did not see.
God placed a message on my heart—one I couldn’t escape. Previously, I hadn’t given the situation much thought. It wasn’t that I didn’t care. I was unaware, not working from the perspective God has of people and their position in life. His desire is to love and know His children, and He calls us to love and know them as well. He wants us to be His helping hands. Sometimes, in order to do so, He grows our love for a people and their plight giving us a passion to reveal God’s love to them.
I’ve seen this displayed in many of the beautiful Christian people God has placed in my life. We’re all called to pay attention to whom and what God calls us to.
Today’s Monday’s Marinate we explore the inexplicable burden God placed on my heart, and His desire for me to share the message with you as well.
I’m not sure what communication style God uses with you, but with me, He often plants the seed of an idea—something He wants me to pay attention to. Then, He circles around that idea with all sorts of compelling evidence He is “talking”. He might use other people. He might use Scripture. He might use a song. Really, He might use any manner of communication to present His case. Mind You, He doesn’t need to convince me, but He is patient to do so.
God planted a seed
So God planted a seed, but it seemed small. It was a simple idea He desired to grow. He let the seed sit in the soil, every once in awhile digging it out and blowing the dirt off. He didn’t demand an instant harvest, but He continued to highlight a need. Not in great detail, yet. He sat hovering, shining His light into a situation and people in need of divine deliverance.
What was the simple seed? He wanted me to pray for a select group of people.
God grew the seed by growing my discomfort
In a seemingly unrelated event, I fidgeted during my morning quiet time. I endured a lengthy lesson about End Time events as part of my current Bible study. I know it is important we have an understanding of End Time events, but it is one of my least favorite biblical topics to study. It feels so heavy and ugh. I’m grateful I don’t have to endure the horror, but I hate thinking others one day will. I know God is sovereign and I know He knows best, but it doesn’t make my personal discomfort any less.
To get the angst off my chest, I turned to my journal. I didn’t think I could endure carrying the discomfort throughout the day.
My Bible study homework was about End Times. It is not my favorite area of study. It’s important to be aware, but I just don’t feel like entrenching myself in its study. I feel like we should live our lives—as best we can and in the power of Christ—as if Christ is coming tomorrow and we should be prepared.
I understand the need for awesome, awful, and detailed descriptions for those who do not know Christ. He can present the evidence that He did everything in His power to explicitly warn of what would happen. God doesn’t want anyone to reside in hell. No one. No one can say, “You didn’t tell me. You didn’t leave word.” He has clearly communicated.
But from my standpoint and self-study, the knowledge of what will happen at the hand of the enemy is not a topic I desire to immerse myself in. I hate to think of that fate for people. It’s awful to think of evil reining for any length of time—even with the knowledge that God is only allowing it for a season.
Even today, hearing reports of ISIS beheading beautiful, innocent people or Christians burned in Pakistan—burned alive at the hands of a mob of once fellow co-workers— disturbs me to the core! And it’s not just overseas, but here in the U.S. as well with the shocking beheading in Oklahoma. On our soil, and again from a former co-worker—beheaded because they shared a different faith than the radical extremist.
I guess my point is we don’t have to search long and hard to see evil. I don’t want to focus on that. I try to see the good and the hope in Christ. None of these horrors is good, nor is the stealing of innocent girls for someone else’s sexual pleasures. It’s all awful! It leaves a rotten stench in the world.
I’m not wishing my life away, but I cannot wait for all evil to be stamped out and placed under our Lord and Savior’s feet! The evil in our world today feels unimaginable being immersed in it—sexual predators, rapists, serial killers, angry mobs, war—where even women and children are no longer safe from being brutally victimized. We don’t have to look far to see.
I can’t imagine the evil we encounter today being magnified, but Scripture promises it will happen. I don’t want to be here when it does, nor do I want any of those whom I love to have to endure the weight of such darkness. Awful!
Join me in this prayer…
Lord, please be with those who are persecuted and wrongfully punished because of Your name. Strengthen them and shower them with Your grace. Rescue and redeem those in need of deliverance. Bring about mighty reversals that can only happen through the power You possess. Turn evil men and women toward repentance. Make evil marauders into mouthpieces for Christ. Turn what was meant for harm into something good. Multiply the good, Lord, that comes from such atrocities.
God used my discomfort with End Times to draw attention to the evil in today’s time. That’s an imperative point, so I’m going to repeat it.
God used my discomfort with End Times to draw attention to the evil in today’s time.
As much as I don’t want to “see” evil, it exists.
Why is this insight so important? As much as I don’t want to see evil, some people can’t escape it. It’s part of their job description to deal with society’s darkest element. They are immersed in evil. Every. Single. Day. I cannot fathom.
How does one protect him or herself from the onslaught of imagery unimaginable? In human power, I don’t think it’s possible to protect our minds from such assault to our eyes.
This is what our Father was calling my attention to: Our police officers are immersed in the most evil element of society. The dirty and dangerous things their eyes see can’t be scrubbed away with soap and water. It takes spiritual power to remove such filth.
God grew the seed some more by growing my awareness
I want to share a story about a friend of mine, Cathy Denenberg. I always knew she was brave and a beautiful ambassador for Christ. However, I didn’t know how brave my sister in Christ was until more recently.
Cathy and I served together in women’s ministry where she taught and shepherded women to learn and engage in God’s truth. I knew she had a difficult day job, but I couldn’t have imagined the level of difficulty she encountered in her forced engagement with darkness as part of her job duties.
As God was growing my awareness of the spiritual needs for our police officers, I reached out to Cathy. I wanted to get her opinion as to what an everyday person could do to support and encourage our local police departments.
She shared some excellent insights and ideas to help officers in our community know how much we appreciate them and the difficult job they have.
But beyond those helpful ideas, she shared something even more important. She shared herself. She gave me exposure to what it looks like to encounter evil because of her calling to protect and serve us. In order to keep us safe, she saw the unimaginable. All of our officers do.
She is so brave! So brave! So brave! I think of Joshua 1:9, a verse God once had me give to her in a Bible study. And I think to myself this woman knows how to live out that verse!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV
Here are Cathy’s ideas as to how we can help, insights to what police officers face, and a bit of her brave, brave story.
Most police officers get into law enforcement because they really want to help people. I’ve never heard any of them say they’re doing it for the money. There just isn’t any in it. Many law enforcement families are struggling that way. So, you could pray for provision of basic needs.
But I think the overwhelming thing to pray for would be salvation. In law enforcement there is a lot of “works” attitude. They are all sinners, to be sure, but they don’t see themselves as such. It’s a constant comparison. We would do an interview with someone busted for child pornography and the other officers would be foul mouthed and then go get drunk. So, they really haven’t, for whatever reason, grasped that concept that Jesus is the only way, the gospel. Cynicism is a huge problem as are all problems of a tainted and hurting heart. They are used to being lied to so come to expect it. Evil is all around them and they are subjected to the worst conditions…the public really doesn’t have any idea how bad it is. Helplessness over the human condition is a common feeling. So they need Jesus so that some sense can be made.
Also, they are (viewed as) the bad guy. Everyone loves a fireman…they come to save. Those in law enforcement are God’s avengers. And who likes that? The cop doesn’t even make a judgment of guilt or innocence; that’s for a judge and jury. (In that way,) they are like Jesus, pointing out a problem but not bringing the judgment yet. (Because we know that happens later after death or when Jesus comes back.)
No one really likes it when the cops show up. It’s like having your parents walk in on a pillow fight when you’re supposed to be sleeping. “Shh, shh, they’re coming” You get it. And then it’s up to the police to figure out who’s the perpetrator and who’s the victim. All in all a very, very difficult job. Low wages, crazy hours, physically demanding, exposure to all kinds of evil. Then add in the issues of being a government employee with the unions and bureaucracy to deal with. No wonder, alcoholism and divorce are rampant. We don’t treat them well enough for the job they do.
I think local law enforcement would love a resource to send people to that really worked, outside of the court system. Wayward teen, homeless panhandler, a single mom who can’t keep up with the bills; those kinds of things that government doesn’t do well: compassion and hope.
Just a taste of what I experienced: My first offender while doing child pornography investigations was 21 years old. He had a TON of stuff; 5 computers just dripping with filth. I had to review all of it. Here’s the only way I can describe how it FEELS to look at the stuff: it felt like my skin was being peeled off. Literally, a screaming of the Holy Spirit in me. I realized that if I listened to Christian music it was better, but it was never comfortable. As I was reviewing his computers one day, I had a vision. I saw Satan taking this kid down under the water, like a crocodile rolling someone and stuffing him under a log. I just burst into tears. This young man was very, very troubled. And I was the one who had to bring him some consequences. No one cared enough for him to do it before now. He was my son’s age. And in so much trouble. That’s the job in a nut shell. Pain, evil, futility, if you don’t know Jesus. There are police officers that are saved. I met a few. But, it’s rare. They have a law enforcement Christian group, but it’s small.
Isn’t she brave?
Powerful. Awareness so powerful. Painful, yes. But powerful none-the-less.
I really want to thank my friend, Cathy, for sharing in such a vulnerable way! Thank you, sweet sister! I pray God uses your words, your experiences, and your insights to make a difference not only in my community, but in the communities of all who read this blog or encounter your story in some other way!
We can allow this message to disappear, like ink invisible we no longer see. But I challenge you to let God use you to shed light into the darkest corners within our communities. Think of the eternal impact made when we make a difference in officer’s lives, maybe in some small way that feels significant to him or her because you took the time to notice their sacrifice.
What does our Father want us to do with all this awareness of evil?
Our Father wants us to pray. Pray for those persecuted by evil. Pray as well for our local police officers. Let God prepare your heart for what He desires to do in and through you.
Our Father wants us to thank our local police officers for their service. How does it make you feel when someone appreciates the job you do? It feels great, right? Encourage them with positive messages. Good conquers evil every time. Don’t underestimate the power of a positive word. It might be the only one they hear that day.
Our Father wants us to serve our local police offers in some way. They protect and serve us each and every day. Consider ways in which you can serve them. By the way, you don’t have to do this alone. Consider gathering members of your church together to make a difference.
“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b NIV
Review Cathy’s suggestions on how you can help. Pray and ask God to give you direction on what the best way to serve officers in your community looks like. I trust He will show you the way.
QUESTIONS & ACTIONS