The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 25, 2013

Snipers slay their targets along with everyone else

Keeping the Faith

— Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published March 29, 2009. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.

I’ve never been fond of snipers. I’m not talking about sharpshooters camouflaged on tops of buildings who can shear the wings off a fly they can’t even see. I’m not talking about bona fide terrorists who seek to do physical harm to others.

I have zero tolerance for them, too, but the snipers bothering me most these days are the negative naysayers who take potshots at anyone who’s on the front lines of leadership trying to make a difference in this world. defines snipe as “shooting at someone from a hiding place.”

It’s easy to sit in an armchair watching cable and criticizing everything local, state and national and church leaders are doing.

I’m especially disappointed in Christians who seem to have totally forgotten God’s admonition in II Chronicles 7:14 — “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land.”

God doesn’t say, “If all those rotten, good-for-nothing sinners down there get their act together, I’ll intervene.” He says if those of us who claim to know Him and seek to do His will on this Earth will bow before Him in worship and reverence and turn away from things we do that displease Him, He’ll act in behalf of the whole land.

I know lots of people who fasted and prayed and quoted this verse until the presidential election. Then they stopped. I don’t see a time limit in II Chronicles 7:14. It doesn’t say to stop praying, fasting and putting our faith in God just because we pray and don’t get a result we want.

One writer has said, “Faith is not expecting God to give you what you want. It is expecting God to do what is right.”

It seems to me God’s command is to continue to be faithful in spiritual disciplines and to practice an attitude of repentance, hope and faith, coupled with a willingness to do whatever we can to make things better.

We may, indeed, see the economy plunge further. We spoiled Americans may finally learn what it’s like to live on a budget and do without something once in a while. If that happens, I believe it will be the discipline of God, coupled with His love as a Divine parent, pulling us back from the extremes of wastefulness and wantonness.

I hope I will be among those who adopt the attitude set forth in Habakkuk 3:17-18 — “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Sniping is easy. It takes no courage to hide away and shoot at others from a safe vantage point.

It takes real courage to step out in the open and proclaim God’s goodness in hard times. That’s something that can bring the blessings of heaven down on all of us.