Tonight I Pray - by Allan Yoder

Tonight, I am unable to sleep - again. So, I am doing what I often do when that happens. I sit in my office and pray.  Pray is such a nice word for what I am pouring out to God. Tonight, my heart is broken; my spirit is angry; my soul is deeply disturbed.

I pray for my family. My wife and our three sons and their families. We are blessed with three honorable sons and an honorable grandson (and another grandson that is as honorable as a baby can be!).  I would love to have them live close to us, but I know that will never happen. The memories of their experiences in this area are too painful.

I pray for their safety - even from those who are sworn to protect them. Most won’t harm them, and many won’t harass them, but some do. Those who would mistreat them wield enormous power to inflict harm. So, I pray for God’s protection when they again find themselves in a situation where they are helpless from such power.

I pray for the church. I love this church, but it has not always embraced my family. I recall a family that left because they felt that Rebeca and I were living in sin (due to our cross-cultural marriage). What hurt the most were those who knew why their friends left and did not tell us. What stung even more was their choice to maintain their friendship by not challenging their friends.

The conversations about who did what and who was right or wrong do not help me tonight. They have never helped. Those conversations will die out as the news cycles shift or as people get tired of the stress of the theme. Dissecting the details of an incident only provides reasons to dismiss the pain. Nothing will really change until we begin to understand the pain and respond with healing to the hurt.

Because I love my wife and my sons, I do not have the privilege of getting over it or taking a break from this stress. I am not able to stop thinking about it for a day or a week or a month or a year. It is always there. And it shapes what I think and who I am.

As I reflect on how persons respond in situations like the event I wrote about (response to family who left because they felt we were living in sin), it is about choices. To choose to keep what we have despite how it affects others OR choose to minister healing to the pain around us in spite of what it might cost us.

It is not easy to love like Jesus did. But we try because God loves those who mistreat us and our children. And God has called us to this place.

So tonight, I again pray that seemingly impossible prayer – Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

And tomorrow I will bless and invest in people, whether or not they embrace my family, because I want to love like Jesus does.