My call to jury duty last month was the closest I’ve come so far to being seated on a jury. In years past my number has either squeaked by anonymously, or, like last year, the jury was completed just before I would have been interviewed.
It's a fascinating process and as I listened to the judge speak about the burden of proof is on the prosecution's side, which makes sense in our system of "innocent until proven guilty," a thought struck me.
We are like the defendant, only in the sense that our role is to stand firm in our testimony. Ours is one of faith, of Jesus' salvation, and God's mercy and grace. We are not required to prove God's existence, the crucifixion of His Son, or the Holy Spirit's presence in us who have accepted the gift of salvation. As Ephesians 6 tells us, our job is to stand firm in our faith. And as the Bible shows us, God is more than capable of defending Himself.
I don't imply that our pre-believing spouses are the prosecutors, though I dare say we may feel like they are at times. I dare to also say, that the enemy is often behind those times of "cross examination" that turn cruel and harsh. But even then, it’s not up to us to prove God. The enemy knows this and would like to keep us in the dark, which is rather ironic if you think about it. He wants us to prove what he already knows to be true.
The amazing part of our freedom in Christ is that we don't have to prove anything. God sees our hearts and our minds and knows us better than anyone. If we have spoken or acted in faith, yet receive criticism or rejection, we can still stand confident in God's defense of us (Isaiah 45:24-25).
Years ago a former pastor of mine spoke of Paul as being perceived as arrogant. He explained that it wasn't arrogance that motivated Paul to speak and serve God as he did. It was confidence.
I'm beginning to understand Paul a lot better lately. I see his confidence flowing from his reassurance of his place with Christ, even though he would be the first to admit he was the worst of sinners. If anything, this made his witness even more powerful because it stemmed not from his ability or knowledge but grew from his constant hunger for and dependence on God based upon this awareness of where he came from.
In the past I've referred to us as Esther's in our marriages. We truly are in these places for such a time as God has called us to stand firm in Him and by our pre-believers. Now I say we can stand in the place like Paul because we KNOW our God and what He is capable of.
So my prayer of late has been, "Lord, make me confident in You like Paul was." I don't want to waver in the face of resistance or even rejection. The more I come to know God, the more impassioned I become about His Word and my faith. Yes, most of the time our actions are what speak the loudest to those around us. But even then we can be like Paul and live out our faith in confidence.
I didn’t get seated on the jury this year. I guess the prosecution didn’t like my comment about having a heart for the underdog because he sent me home. But I confess I walked out proud because I’d spoken about my heart for people. I didn’t waver in the moment when I could have backed down, and I didn’t care what those around me would think.
That’s happening a lot more lately. I think God’s already answering my prayer.
Praying & believing,
a.k.a., Paulina ;-)