God is at work, even when we cannot see: Leave it to God, and labour on. That’s the big idea in this final message on John 4, from verses 43-54, which we looked at this Canada Day. Listen or watch below…
On this Canada Day, I encourage you to pray for the nation we treasure. It was founded on strong Christian principles, not least demonstrated by our coat of arms, with the phrase a mari usque ad mare – from sea to sea. Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley came up with the idea of calling Canada a “dominion”, and while that terminology is no longer frequently used, and we have wavered significantly from our Christian roots, we can know most assuredly that God still has a plan for Canada.
I took a course this week in Vancouver on cultural discipleship in a secular age, and one of the things that struck me early on is what Jeremiah wrote to the exiled people of God. In chapter 29, we’re used to hearing the comforting words that God has plans for us. But earlier in the chapter, the prophet said this to God’s people who had been carted away from their beloved land: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare” (Jeremiah 29.4-7, NLT).
We might be inclined to say this world is not our home, but temporarily, it is. Pray for Canada this Canada Da y, and ask the Lord to encourage his people to settle, and to be good neighbours to the many diverse people who inhabit our land, that they may catch a glimpse of Jesus in us.
This weekend, most Canadians will mark Canada Day (which falls on July 1) with merriment: a barbecue, perhaps camping, maybe fireworks. We often take for granted what Canada Day celebrates: our freedom, a stable government, human rights, good health care, a beautiful country with polite people.
Many folks look at Canada in awe, for they do not experience the blessings we have always known. As I was preparing for Sunday’s message, I was thinking about the many stories that show up in the news – maybe not on the front page, but still in the news – of people around the world who would give everything they had to experience what we enjoy every day.
Instead of asking you to read my thoughts, though, I invite you to take a few minutes to express your own grateful thoughts before God for Canada, where we are free to love and serve Jesus. Take time to pray for the people around the world who are persecuted for their faith in Christ.
Pray especially for the Christians in Palestine, Iraq, Indonesia, and especially for the Nigerian school girls and the young wife and mother in the Sudan who has been imprisoned (again) for choosing to follow Jesus.
Maybe you know of other people who experience great persecution because they love the Lord. Ask God to be present with them by his Spirit.
And be thankful. Be practically thankful. Invite the Lord to take seriously what appears on Canada’s coat of arms: ad mari usque ad mare.
“May he rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72.8, NIV).