By Rachel Meyer
It occurs to me, this morning, that most of our enemies are invisible. I mean, we see the results, occasionally even the symptoms, but rarely does our real enemy come out into the open. I ponder this while watching a group of young people dance in the park to the tunes of a street musician. The musician, himself, appears tattered, but in a tailored sort of way. He has that rebel aura that we are often drawn to, and a good eye for the crowd. He adjusts his tone accordingly. I only recognize this because I am a people-watcher too, howbeit for different reasons. It isn’t the musician I am attracted to right now. I try to blend in, as I watch the dancers.
I try to pick up on the spiritual atmosphere that surrounds them. I listen. I pray. I watch.
I’m refreshed to hear their laughter, to see how totally in sync they seem to be. There’s an elderly couple sitting on a park bench nearby. The lady smiles, as her husband taps his foot. I watch. You see, I’m keeping a vigil of sorts. I used to come here to pray for our city, to pray for our nation, to pray over events we had planned, and some we had not planned for at all. That’s what I used to do. I pray differently now. I listen closer. I try to be a little more on purpose about discerning the spirit of a thing.
Isaiah 62:6-7 has been on my mind. It says that:
“On your walls, O Jerusalem,I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You, who remind The Lord, take no rest for yourselves; And give Him no rest until He establishes, And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
I do pray for this with God’s own urgency in my heart; But I pray this for my own city as well, for my brothers and sisters right here.
I do this because we are a busy people. Our cities are full of busy parents, busy pastors, busy employers, and busy friends. We send our troubled youth to busy therapists who document their pain and then put it on hold until the next session. Today, I am overwhelmed by this. We attribute to God things He would never be a party to. We shake our heads and blame the system, the people, and the times. As I cried before the Lord, as I poured out my heart, I asked Him, “What can I do?” It was then I heard God’s gentle whisper saying, “Be a watcher.”
I was drawn to James 5:14-16 then:
“Is anyone among you sick ? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of The Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and The Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins,he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
As I thought about this, God continued to speak. I was reminded then, that sick people don’t always realize their condition, until a doctor tells them. Sad people don’t realize how long it’s been since they laughed.
I realized that, contrary to the accepted pain scale at the hospital, pain cannot be rated. Desperation does not remember hope, and a sinner buried in generations of spiritual affliction cannot see his way clear to confess. This is why we watch. We don’t run around shouting quotes from the Book of Revelation, or even the beloved John 3:16, because people in trouble cannot receive that yet. No matter how thirsty a man is, pouring water down a parched and blistered throat will only make him sick. We wage war in the spirit, to give man pause in the natural. We are not our behavior, not until we have had a chance to get free of the spirit that drives us, not until we have been able to catch our breath and possess our soul. God intended we all have that chance. God intended that we be healed and delivered and free. God intended that there be watchers.
Some of us are in a strong spiritual place today. I challenge you– be a watcher. Some of us are hurting. I plead with you– be a listener. God will show up for both of you. He is not without a plan. These are my thoughts today. I leave you with just one more thing. Whatever place you are in, God’s Spirit is within you. He knows who you are. He knows what you are capable of.