“God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof. Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away; that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety – that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it.
Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.” (“God in the Manger” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
I love me some Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he is truly an important voice in the history of faith and Christianity. His words from God in the Manger are so well crafted and expressed that I believe there will never be a time in this world where His words are not applicable to our daily lives.
2016 was a interesting year. Interesting in fact is putting it lightly. There are a lot of people that left this earth that some would say earlier than expected. These people were creators in some form and so because they created things that fed us to a certain extent it has been as the worst year ever. I want to remind you not to buy into this feeling. As people of faith we know this:
We have to take the good with the bad.
Our lives cannot always be filled with good all the time or bad all the time, there are good things and there are bad things. And no matter who you are and where you are there is someone somewhere that has it worse than you. That is what life is. It’s a journey that has mountaintops and valleys. When we have valleys we tend to ask where is God in these moments, because we have implicated for years that where bad exists of course God cannot exist.
We really need to stop this. Dietrich’s words strike true because God is never absent from our lives. He is present on the mountaintops and present in the darkest of valleys.
Anything that says otherwise is not truth, not our God.
God is good and present all the time. The issue is are we even looking for Him? Are we listening for His voice and not our own? Today I challenge you and myself to do something. I challenge you to at some point in every day to say a prayer. A very specific prayer. A covenant prayer.
This challenge is an experiment. An experiment of what our lives could look like if we read this covenant prayer everyday. I wonder what would change. How would it change our relationships? Our work ethic? Our social media presence?
I have no idea what it will do, but I am curious and wondering so I am going to do it. Even if I am the only one in the world to do it. I hope you will join me in reading this prayer everyday. Here it is:
A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition (Contemporary Version)
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,
Praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven. Amen.
I wonder what this would look like if we really tried to apply this perspective? I invite you to join me in this journey. I bet you will see God doing wonders in places you never considered.