It is Sunday evening.
Church is over.
I am home dealing with the after-church letdown.
For years, I have often felt a bit sad or pensive after church on Sunday evenings.
I am not sure why.
It could be because I have been in heavenly places, being challenged by the word and Spirit of God.
Mindful of fresh insights into the workings of God.
Encouraged to control myself more diligently so as to conform more fully to the will of God in the coming days.
And knowing that I must face the devil and his society tomorrow.
Maybe it is some of all of this.
No matter, here is that feeling again.
Tonight, I am aware that there are people hurting.
All around me.
While we were in church doing our usual churchy thing there are thousands sitting home hurting.
Needing God but too ignorant or angry or afraid to seek him.
Dealing with problems, mostly because of the selfish actions of other people.
Or with circumstances that seem overwhelming.
With children who are rebelling for reasons that are unclear.
There are women – wives, mothers – who are hurting because of selfish, unfaithful men.
Or they have their own demons or passions that they cannot contain.
And they are dealing with the repercussions.
And the guilt.
There is the military wife who has just lost her husband in battle.
She was dealing with the separation and looking forward to his coming home.
But not this way.
In a box.
She is angry and frustrated.
While she has seen some of her friends and neighbors suffer marriage problems and divorce, she and her husband were working through their problems.
She felt like they were doing well, and was looking forward to working on their relationship more when he got back.
And she asks, why?
If that bullet had only been six inches farther to the left or right....
Why was it not so?
How could a loving God.....?
There are others, dealing with their problems by hiding in chemicals.
Some use alcohol.
Others use pills.
Still others use needles.
I cannot even relate to these people even though I have known some.
I do not know where to begin to help these people.
And here I sit, warm, cozy, comfortable, without any real problems.
And God has said, who will go?
And on one level I say, here am I.
But we both know I am scared and doubtful and hesitant.
So, while I am so aware of the needs around me tonight, I am also useless as an instrument for God to use.
All I can do I pray in intercession for these nameless people.
None of whom I really know (at least I don't think I know any of them).
And so I have prayed.
Prayed for the invisible hurting who are all around me.
They may be in the house next door, or across the street, or just two doors down.
I prayed that somehow God would minister to them.
That somehow he would arrest their thoughts.
That he would somehow comfort them.
That he would cause them to think of him or Jesus or some church.
Or to think of someone they know that could tell them about Jesus.
How he can heal the broken hearted.
How he can make a dreary life new.
How he can save them from sin, and sinning.
I know this is true but sometimes I doubt it myself.
There seems to be so few that have any interest in things spiritual these days.
I wonder if anyone even cares about heaven or hell anymore.
Some at church do.
But not even everyone at church seems to care sometimes.
Or at least, care as much as I think they ought to.
Only about half of the people who come on Sunday morning come Sunday night.
And I wonder what they see when they look at me.
Do I seem to care about spiritual things as much as they think I should?
And what does God think of me?
Is all he sees is a scared little old man?
In God we trust.