Artist’s Lane: Faith in the juggler


By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

I hope all eyes are on God during these whirlwind times. He is the Master Juggler and only he can catch all of the cares of our nation and world.

It is hard to stay focused when there are so many things stealing our attention, especially that which causes fear to creep in, keeping us in a state of unrest. 

After a dizzying year of this and that, I have finally settled down and, by faith, grasped the knowledge that God is sovereign. He will have the last word. 

Written history proves his ability to set up and take down kings and kingdoms. I believe today is no different. And, it is only when we place our faith in him that we will know his mercy. 

I can speak clearly of those times in my life when God had the last word and showed his mercy. Admittedly, I didn’t always like the word received, but the resulting goodness that followed was undeniable. 

There are too many times to count when I prayed, “Thank you, God, that you knew better than me. How I would have destroyed my life and family if left to my own devices.”

On the other hand, I believe that there are those times when God let my stubborn self fall into whatever pit I dug. How else would I ever learn if I didn’t bear the callouses of the climb out?

Over a year ago, concerned about our country, I was impressed to start a virtual prayer group to lift up our president. No matter the number of times I put it off, the idea had a way of landing right back in my hands. God wouldn’t let me rest until I stepped up and organized the weekly prayer effort. 

I am amazed at how well I slept once I bought a videoconference subscription and set the virtual meeting into motion. 

The mandate to pray for our nation and our community was loud and clear. I was given the scripture II Chronicles 7:14 as a prompting and brought the prayer team together under the guide, “If my people called by name …” 

It is a familiar scripture that I have known throughout my life. Mine now was to grab hold of it, to be part of something that was about to soar. 

Over the next few months, I heard the same scripture that had been tucked away in my heart spoken by government officials across the nation. Never was it uttered more than on our National Day of Prayer. Countless people sat glued to their televisions as 70,000 people joined together to pray at our nation’s capital. I can only imagine the tens of thousands that were doing the same from their homes. 

During these days that seem darker then ever before, is it possible to think that there are those who are turning from their ways, to humble themselves in prayer? We would be foolish not to. The latter part of II Chronicles 7:14 says that it is then that we will be forgiven and see our land healed. 

Our devotion this morning spoke to a calling in the lives of those who believe in Jesus. We are to be intercessors. I never saw myself in that way when I started my virtual meeting. I just knew that I needed to pray for our country and our community.

How could anyone not be weighed down by all of the problems we see swirling around us? It’s almost overwhelming to think about all of the things we need to be praying for. 

Therein lies the beauty of intercession. Ours is not to catch the ball, but to lift it in the air trusting God to catch it, then navigate it in his desired direction. 

Yes, there are times when I felt like I threw all of the balls in the air only to see them come crashing to the ground. More often then not, I know that those same times were being guided by alarm or lack of assuredness. Thankfully, God is not motivated by fear, but by faith. 

It has been that way since the beginning of time. Even David in the book of II Samuel 24: 13-14 said, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 

We cannot echo David’s words enough. Look around. Do we really want to fall into the hands of man? 

Final brushstroke: As our country hangs in the balance, only one thing is for certain. We are in God’s hands and only he will decide our future and the fate of our nation. What he asks of us? To be humbled, pray, seek and then turn from our sinful ways. It is then and only then, as if cradled in the hands of a skilled catcher, that we will see our land healed. 

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