“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Not too far along in our marriage, I came to the realization that my husband was, what I felt, controlling. I had lived on my own for a bit and had my own schedule, my own habits, my own freedom, which was now being limited by him. When I would want to go to Walmart at 10 pm, he would point out that it was at the ‘bad end of town’ and didn’t I know there was an attempted assault there last month? When I would mention someone hitchhiking and I wanted to stop but sadly passed the opportunity, he was GLAD and reminded me the danger of a woman at the hands of a stranger. So who is he to restrict my freedom to be myself and make my own choices?
As I took on this filter, I began to become resentful, and then mildly resistant (which would be a natural course for someone feeling their ‘rights’ and freedoms are restricted). I would read about controlling people and it would justify my perspective. And the more I looked at our situation through this filter, the more I would find! And then I would want to counter-control!
I prayed for him to change to the way I would like. Then God reminded me to be thankful for the gift that He had given me. As I prayed for him and thanked God for him, my eyes saw him in a new way and my filter slowly disintegrated. Don has been designed and wired with strong protective instincts. He sees a broader picture, where I see my part and plan. This enables him to make strategic plans that often transcend even his own plans. I love that about him. And, to top it off, this is his way of saying, ‘I love you; I want you safe. I want you around for a long time.” One day, a friend said to me, “I wish my husband cared for my safety like that. He doesn’t really care what I do.” This clinched it for me. Funny, how I looked at the same situation but now concluded differently.
We draw conclusions through the filters we have – filters based on others’ opinions or past personal experiences, either good ones or hurtful ones. We can easily and unknowingly attach our wounded filters onto how we perceive others. And often wrongly conclude.
God is the only One Who sees accurately. He is Truth, and until I take on His eyes, I will miss the mark every time. When we ‘see’ through the filtered eyes of what has been pre-digested for us from the media, we can easily miss the truth. And an opportunity to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in positions of high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This kind of praying is good and acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…” 1 Timothy 2:1-3 Amp
We are urged and exhorted to intercede for all people, and specifically for those in authority over us. Intercession is taking on God’s heart and desires for another and praying it back in agreement with Him. I am a portal between heaven and earth and as I pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” I am an instrument through which He does just that. Whether or not I appreciate or agree with their positions, I do pray that each leader who bears any office have an encounter with the Living Christ as Saul-turned-Paul did, and live out their mission as ordained by God Himself. That is my mission.
Beyond that, I am to add prayers of thankfulness for them! Thanks?! According to this, I am not asked to give thanks only if I agree with them. It is about my agreement with God for them, not my agreement with them! Each authority representative is granted that position, and completely under God’s ultimate sovereign authority – and we are given the responsibility and privilege to express thanks to God for them! If we as believers would focus on agreeing with God in intercession and thankfulness, then we would be more in agreement with one another, setting down our pieces of agendas and taking up His broader picture and purpose. I believe if I fail to pray God’s heart for others, I end up with, by choice, a hardened heart, something God warns us about.
Sometimes I think we forget how good we have it (not perfect, but good in relation to other countries), when we focus on how ‘bad’ we have it. We need a filter adjustment, which only comes through a heart of thankfulness and recognition of the mighty sovereignty of God.
So I wonder if we followed this simple-yet-profound exhortation (which was incidentally, NOT given as a mere suggestion), given under the inspiration of God’s Spirit to a people who were under the heavy rule of the Roman government (including fierce persecution against the Christians):
– To petition God with specific requests, as the ultimate Ruler (“the Most High who rules the kingdom of men and give it to who He will and sets over it the lowliest of men” Daniel 4:17)
– To intercede for all in authority over us, joining God in praying for HIS mission and purpose for each of their God-given lives
– To offer thanks for them, asking God to remove my inaccurate filter in exchange for His heart and see through His eyes on their behalf, ………
……..I wonder how our hearts might change toward our President and all in this current administration, either side of the aisle, as well as all those in authority desperately in need of God’s wisdom for such a time as this?
‘This [kind of praying] is good and acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.”
Seriously, what better result and conclusion/result could we ask for?