It’s tax time in my neck of the woods, and that means that a lot of people are praying. Some are praying for a tax refund; others are praying that their tax bill is lower than expected, or that they can somehow find the money to pay it.
Taxes are not pleasant, but they are a constant reality of this world. Even Jesus had to pay taxes–to an oppressive foreign empire, no less. The people of his time wanted him to lead a rebellion against Roman occupation. But even if he had done so, their own religious leaders collected Temple taxes.
There are a lot of other unpleasant realities in this life– injustice, bigotry, hatred, disease, natural disasters, accidents, and death. God doesn’t remove them, no matter how hard or how earnestly we pray… he may send healing, comfort, or strength to get us through a crisis, but he never promised to end poverty, or remove the consequences of sin, or wipe out cancer–YET.
These are the taxing prayers that we continue to pray– prayers that come from our pain and longing for a new Heaven and a new Earth. It is in our fallen nature to yearn for the perfection of God’s original creation; a world we have never experienced, but for which our souls were designed. In praying for things to be made “right”, we acknowledge that they are, in this present age, very wrong. And we acknowledge that our best efforts can never be “enough” to overcome the ravages of sin. Finally, in bringing them to God, we acknowledge that only He has the power and wisdom to “fix” them– in His time.
Taxes are not pleasant, but there will come a day when they are abolished. God’s love, his mercy, his blessings– they are tax-free, and they are in endless supply.
Even during tax season, that’s something to celebrate!