Lead Us to the Cross

2020: A historical year by epic proportions, or a calling to be led?

All the world will remember—no matter how much we try to forget.

Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I’m writing from my happy place in Western North Carolina, or as many have heard me refer to it as, God’s Country. Today, I sit at my desk and wonder why words aren’t flowing. Inspiring vistas of crimson and gold before me, yet I sense a dreary heaviness in the air.

As I write this entry, my shoulders ache and stiffen; the evidence of lack of sleep combined with strain from an unseen weight on my shoulders. With the current state of political affairs, tensions have grown out of control. Voices raise. Venomous conversations threaten to poison our relationships. There’s no escape from spam calls, social media blame games, or the ugly truths of both sides.

We hear comments like, “This country needs a monumental change. We’ve had enough.” But, is it enough to bring us to our knees? Is it enough to lead us to the one who shut the mouths of lions, fed the multitudes with a few measly fish, and calmed raging seas? Is it enough to lead us to the cross?

I will follow you to the mountaintop. Guide me to your dwelling place.

Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me, let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

Psalm 43:3 NIV

Lead me not

I’m reminded how we rang in the new year with enthusiastic hearts and open minds. Family celebrations lingered through mid-January. Joy and laughter decked our halls—along with a million spiky pine needles which carpeted our foyer and trailed into most of the living area of our home’s open floor plan.

Thanks to our two extra-exuberant dogs, beloved Christmas decorations had worn out their welcome. I wished I could do the I Dream of Jeannie thing and blink my house back to super tidy, but my supernatural girl power had lost its oomph. My son shot me a “stop looking at the waves” look and told Alexa to turn up the volume on a favorite song. We sang louder than the vacuum vroomed.

Lord, lead me not into the waves that threaten to pull me away from seeing the importance of messy days. Don’t let me forget the priceless moments you want me to remember and hold dear…Now and always.Let those memories linger like vivid snapshots

JC

Into the waves

A few days later, without warning, my husband suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Our motley crew of a family thrashed and clung to each other for dear life. After triple bypass surgery and a month-long hospital stay, the waves subsided. We held on and swam toward the one constant truth that remained: God blessed us with more time together.

We barely settled in before news of the Coronavirus spread like wildfire. The reality of belief and faith in an unseen shepherd after he led us away from death’s sting, and in the months that followed, broadened our understanding of God’s great love for us and kept us in awe of the unimaginable depth of His grace and mercy. Without question, we knew everything in our lives, good or bad, worked together for his glory.

Guide us, Lord

I’m often reminded of God’s faithfulness. Random instances when He used simple testimonies for our good and the edification of others. I imagine Him melding uncut gems with bits of muck and tears until something new and beautiful formed. All those times we fell to our knees, cried together, and prayed together. It wasn’t about God hearing eloquent prayers or promises.

He heard our hearts cry—sometimes in the form of jumbled prayers and complete brokenness. He lit our path, became our humble guide, and led us to the cross where His son Jesus gave His life so we could have forevermore.

I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2 NIV
Lead us, Lord; Maker of heaven and earth.

Pray for our leaders

Have you ever wondered what makes a good leader? It’s the million-dollar question, and everyone thinks they have the answer. While most people look to those who stand confident for worthy causes or one who will provide solutions for dire needs, many ask if there’s any among the left or right who deserve our trust. As wisdom is much different than intelligence, trust shouldn’t be equated with likability.

We study lists of political questions. Perhaps our list should include how to pray for our leaders. Although I’m not a list junkie, here’s my attempt, comprised from many. I pray our future president exemplifies these qualities:

  • Integrity to be a strong leader.
  • Accountability to God, above all else.
  • Resilience to endure.
  • Vision to see the bigger picture.
  • Influence others to stand for good.
  • Humility to become a servant leader.
  • Empathy to love all people.

Deliver us from ourselves

I’ve made a gazillion mistakes, judged others, and wasted time listening to honey-coated eloquent speech when I wanted to run and vomit. Are you anything like me?

Lord, help me see my own flaws instead of theirs.

JC

Although I believe and say I love everyone as Jesus loves them, the world tells me I’m a selfish liar. What about you? Have you wanted to throw something at your TV while watching a debate? Yep. Me too. While I’m not proud of this, I’m thankful God has shown me how flawed and imperfect I am. Help us love one another, Lord. Teach us to see what you see and hear what you hear. Deliver us from ourselves.

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13 NIV

Amen. Help us Lord. Open our eyes to see your Word as more than words.

Did I mention it’s autumn in almost all its colorful splendor?

Dear friends,

Have you ever wondered if God was calling you to lead or be led? When things we hoped for or futures we longed for don’t happen, perhaps it’s God’s way of leading us to something better, something we don’t see or haven’t even imagined yet.

In these times of health crisis, social unrest, or political upheaval, there’s still a way we can each change the world. We can choose to lead as examples who live and practice what the Bible teaches and Jesus Christ preached. His Father, God, calls us to honor every life, be givers of grace and mercy, and to also be like his son, Jesus: The only light in this dark world. Lets stand together as men and women of integrity. Love all people unconditionally.

What if we stop listening to news media for a day and look up for answers from the one who hung the stars in the sky and called them by name? He knows our fears, concerns, and sorrows. Let’s aspire to leave a legacy of leadership. May he lead us forward to the incredible celebration that is to come.

Don’t forget to join the conversation here in the Inspire A Fire comments section of this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories on this subject. Want to read more of my stories on IAF http://www.inspireafire.com/author/jclaypoole/ or my quirky Dreamdove’s Flights of Fancy blog? https://www.joannclaypoole.wordpress.com See you on FB, Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads. 🙂 *Feel free to share this original post with friends and family.

May the assurance of his presence be with you, blessing you on all your paths. Wishing you hope and joy for your journey.

~ JC

Special thanks to Pixabay for free use of all images: Feature image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay, Single Lg image by StockSnap from Pixabay. Bottom Lg image by Rustu Bozkus on Pixabay.

Joann Claypoole

Joann Claypoole is an author, speaker, master stylist/colorist, and former spa-girl entrepreneur. She's a wife, mother of four sons, “Numi” to four grandbabies, doggie-mom of two. The award-winning author of The Gardener’s Helper’s (ages 5-9 MJ Publishing2015) would rather be writing, hiking in the mountains, or inviting deer and other wildlife to stay for dinner near her western NC writing retreat. Visit her website: joannclaypoole.com and WordPress blog: https://joannclaypoole.wordpress.com/

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4 comments

  1. Excellent and perfectly timed! That unseen weight is heavy and can drag one so far down it feels impossible to climb out of the pit. I read this through tears and for a moment didn’t feel alone. Love you!

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