I Hear Him Calling Us
Bishop Paul Lanier | November 13, 2020
Bishop Paul Lanier, The Fellowship’s Chairman of the Board, shares a Christian perspective on events impacting Israel, the U.S., and the world.
It’s been that kind of year, hasn’t it?
This virus. The chaos. Confusion. Lockdowns. Couldn’t get to work. Children couldn’t go to school. Couldn’t see your family and friends.
We have a right to be discouraged. For many of us, the news can be worrying and our future can feel uncertain. Who wouldn’t be disheartened with all that’s happened in 2020? We’ve all had more than our share of challenges and crises.
If there’s one thing we know for certain, though, it is that no matter what is happening around us, our loving, omnipotent God is still holding us in the palm of His hand. When the world seems to be falling apart, shaken, I think of these words from the Christian Bible: “The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:27). So even if our world seems unstable or uncertain, God’s kingdom is forever and unshakable.
Did you know that God cannot learn new things and He can never forget? This is because He is the personification of all wisdom and all knowledge. I think that’s so powerful. During times like this, I think we all can benefit from remembering who our God is and that He hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, His presence is all around.
We Must Listen
The most prayed prayer of the Jewish faith is the Shema. It begins, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” In English, Shema means “listen.” Hebrew tradition teaches that when we hear something from God, we should not only listen, but actually heed His command.
The first time we hear Shema in the Bible is in the Garden of Eden. God is walking into the garden, in the cool of the day, just after Adam and Eve have eaten the forbidden fruit. God is moving towards Adam and Eve and He knows what happened, so He calls for them – making a sound that means they should come running. But God isn’t calling them to reprimand them.
No. He knows they’ve just endured a crisis! Something is now broken. They’ve loosed death into their lives and broken the covenant with the Lord. But God comes looking for them anyway because that’s how much He loves us.
Yet, what did Adam and Eve do? They hid. They couldn’t come running to God and they couldn’t obey Him, because even though they heard God calling to them, something was broken inside them now. But they didn’t need to hide in the first place. God was right there with them wanting to embrace them. You see, our God longs to embrace us so much more than we want to be held. No matter our crisis, worry, or fear, He is always wanting to care for us and protect us. That touches my heart, and I hope it touches yours.
In Crisis, We Pray
I believe the Shema is being spoken to us now. I believe I hear God calling us. In these times, no matter how chaotic, scary, or discouraging of a situation we may feel we are in, we need to remember that we can always come to Him.
Right now, you can come running to your loving God in heaven who adores you. You don’t have to feel fear, trauma, or worry. Instead, we must turn to prayer. We must turn to the very direction God is moving.
Even when we are discouraged, we cannot afford to be disobedient. Your God loves you. Be encouraged, be strengthened. Know the joy of the Lord is your strength. Even when we don’t feel happy, we can be joyful because we know of His kingdom. You belong to God, therefore you have a reason to rejoice no matter the situation you’re in.
I pray that we all bow our heads to His throne, for there’s no throne higher. I pray we give Him praise and glory. And I pray that, as a people of faith who love Israel, He blesses you according to His promise in Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you.”
–Bishop Paul Lanier