God, I have not given up on you yet. I know you are still my provider. I know you will meet my needs; sometimes naturally, at other times, supernaturally. But while I wait, I also lament. Have you heard my cry?
- I have God; in spite of my faithlessness
- I was thanking God within my spirit and praying for others who are also facing challenges
- He was almost in tears. He doesn’t see how he can “live out” his passion. God, I leave that to you.
- God help me to stay hopeful.
- Why are some prayers answered and not others; why God, why?
- God surprise me today
God I do not hear from you. Is this what faith is all about; to believe still, in the face silence? Did the saints of old encounter this stone silence? I pray that I will not fail this test for I want to be counted as one your saints.
Give me wisdom, give me discernment; give me patience, but above all God give me Faith; “faith that endures when faith has failed” (McLaren, p.176).
*McLaren, B. (2011). Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words. New York. HarperCollins Publisher.
God it is evident that it is time to grow. God help me to see the cues and to use every opportunity to seek you out, to serve you and to demonstrate your love to others.
God help me to be always faithful; even during dark times. Give me the faith of Paul; the courage of David and the resiliency of Job.
God I pray that through your divine spirit, I can truly motivate with my words, model through my deeds and heal with my touch. I pray that I will live the truth and be a good steward of your trust in me. Amen
Has God called your name? What has God impressed upon your heart to do?
Earlier this week one of my students shared with me that she learned that a friend committed suicide. She was really hurt and at the same time very angry. She said that her friend had so much potential and now he is gone. She also felt that he didn’t work hard enough to survive and wondered why he did not reach out to her for help. In her heart, she felt God will truly punish the friend because, in her words, ‘he was young, he had a lot of potential and he didn’t fight hard enough to survive.’ I shared with her that God may be disappointed in her friend, but God would not punish the friend. That God, better than us, understood his pain. She seemed relieved and said “I just wished my friend was still with us.”
After that conversation, I began to reflect how each of us has a different perspective on God. What is your image of God? Or very simply, how do you see God?
As a child my God could do everything. He was omnipresent, omnipotent, all knowing, caring and intervened in people’s lives when they called upon him. Nevertheless, he was a God to be feared. He was the hell and damnation God. Although I knew I needed and wanted God, I was afraid of this God and feared too that I would be damned to hell.
Later in life, God became an all loving God; still Omni-everything and still the God who intervenes in the lives of those who seek him out. I don’t know about you, but my image of God is still evolving.
He’s definitely not the God of my youth or the God of my young adulthood; he sometimes seems to be the God of indifference, a God of distance, a God who rarely intervenes in the affairs of humankind. This is a God I cannot accept and I doubt is real. But like you, I’m still wrestling with who God is.
Mark Batterson in his book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day (2006) said that “how you think about God will determine who you become. You aren’t just the byproduct of “nature and nurture.” You are a byproduct of your God-picture. And that internal picture of God determines how you see everything else” (p.28).
Batterson goes on to say that “our biggest problems can be traced back to an inadequate understanding of who God is. Our problems seem really big because our God seems really small. In fact, we reduce God to the size of our biggest problem” (p.28). I don’t know about you, but I need a God that’s bigger than any problems. I need a God who not only can tackle my problems, but the world’s problems. Batterson continues and believes that God has no dimensional units and that our belief or thoughts of God will determine who we will become. Wow!
Wow is right. I need a God who is greater than all this world’s imagination; especially as it relates to who God is and what God can and will do. I need a God that is as big as this world; still has concerns and abiding love for me and not only showed loved for me on a CROSS centuries ago, but a God who daily reminds me of his love and protection.
I need that infinite God; the God of love and mystery and yes, a God that I or no one else can define or put in a box. I need a God that loves “even me.” I need a big God; the same God that told Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways,’’….”As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). To learn more about God’s awesomeness read Job, chapters 38 through 41. That’s a big God and no, he is not in a box.
How do you see God? How big is your God? My image of God is evolving, but each day I love this God who refuses to be defined. I hope you too will envision a God that is unlimited and therefore undefinable and that my friend will make all the difference in your world.
Where is the fairytale God; the one that was taught to us in Sunday school? The one we depended upon in our childhood, adolescence and young adult lives.
I so wished the fairytale God was real. I so wished I could experience the miracles, found in the Holy Scriptures, that God showered on others and was told could happen to me if I just believed.
But I am older now and I have learned there’s no fairytale God; like I learned there’s no Santa Claus. Such are the cruel fantasies that adults inflict on children to keep them well-behaved and yes, to give hope.
Oh, I still believe in God. I just don’t believe in the Santa Claus God; you know the one that fulfills all my requests and prayers. If I am really honest, Santa did not fulfill all wishes either. Yes, I still believe in God, but not the one that grants my every wish.
I believe in a God that allows me to experience life, with all its pleasure and pain. I believe in a God that cries when I cry. I believe in a God that is hoping and cheering for me as I take every step in this life. I believe in a God that can’t wait to receive me in His arms when I am ready to “come home.” I believe in God, a God who fights along my side to defeat evil, one day at a time.
I believe like the Apostle Paul that we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but in time we will see everything with perfect clarity. “All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Yes, some will say that I still believe in a fairytale God, but that’s okay because this God keeps me going when times get tough. I believe in a God who promises to be with me to the end of my time and that’s all the miracle I need.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God (Matthew 5:8 NIV).
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world” (Matthew 5:8, The Message).
Guess what, despite the circumstances of life, despite those who try to control us and to dictate how we should think, feel, live and respond to our world, and despite those days when our “faith is dry and prayer seems useless”* we are blessed.
How is that you say? We are blessed because our Savior Jesus, who understands the unpredictability of this world (see Mark 14:32-41), advocates for us daily. In this season of Lent, we are reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice. We are reminded that even when our minds and emotions are fragile, frayed or frustrated; when our faith is weak, when it is hard to believe in a God, much less see God; the Spirit prays for us (Roman 8:26-27).
It is all right to feel that your mind and emotions are fragile. It is all right not to feel that you have a “pure heart” because Jesus paid the price to help our doubts. I was reminded about the man who said to Jesus, “I do believe help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)!
Jesus knows what it is like to be human; therefore, His grace fills the gaps in our faith. It overrides our shortcomings. God’s grace can’t be undone by an emotional outburst or doubt. So rejoice that God loves us enough to have given us the grace of Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: God, we thank you for loving us in our anger, in our doubts and providing us an avenue, through the Holy Spirit, to speak our needs to you when we cannot. Thanks for reminding us that we are in your care and yes, we will see you. Amen.
*Sacred Space, The Prayer Book 2012, p.91)
Do you ever struggle about your future; especially, as it relates to your call? Well, here’s a prayer that may help. Repeat several times out loud several days a week.
I will be optimistic about my future because I know God wants the best for me. I will be an optimist about my future because I choose to be. I have the power to create my future. I can choose how hard to work, where I will live and who will be a part of my future.
I can be assured of what my future holds because I have the gift of memory; the memory of how God blessed me in the past and the assurance that God is with me now and will be with me in the future.
So even though I am now weary, filled with tears, I know that in the morning I will sing the pilgrim song of joy (Psalm 126:4-6, The Message) as God brings rain to my drought-stricken life… to a future life filled with laughter and armloads of blessing.
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat (Matthew 5:6, The Message).
As a child, I was coaxed to eat my spinach and other green vegetables to grow and be strong like Popeye the Sailor Man. As an adult, I know it is critical to eat my green vegetables to be strong and to stay healthy. In fact, today I have an appetite for green vegetables and it’s the same appetite that I now have for God. We need to eat our vegetables and God is like that vegetable. He is our nourishment; nourishing our soul, our spirit, in such a way, that we hunger for more.
I think we hunger more for God when things don’t go as planned. We hunger for God, when one day of missed blessings, turns into weeks and then to months. I hunger for His love, His comfort, for His wisdom and just to know who this God is. I am so hungry for God that I am salivating.
It is ironic but, for me, this Beatitude verse closely aligns with Psalm 111:10a, which reads “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (NIV). The Message Bible says that the “the good life begins in the fear of God”. Fear in this case, means our reverence to our God. It means that we accept His awesomeness. When I think of God’s awesomeness, I think of an all powerful being that cannot be manipulated or controlled; a being that I desire to know in a more intimate way.
To get there I must have wisdom and that wisdom attainment begins when I seek, when I hunger for that relationship with God. A relationship that may require us to “wrestle with God, play with God, weep with God, argue with God, laugh with God, love God—and (yes) fear God…(Richard Schmidt, 2005, p. 273)*.
When we get to a place and realize that God is greater than our image of Him. That heaven is more than that pie in the sky; we then hunger to know more of God; sometime weeping, sometime in anger, but always in reverence and awe and always with an appetite for more.
*Schmidt, Richard H. (2005). Praises, Prayers, & Curses: Conversations with the Psalms. Cincinnati,Ohio: Forward Movement.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew, 5:4 NIV)
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you” (The Message).
What a paradoxical statement! How can that be? Let’s think this through? What’s dear to us can vary over time and/or we can have many things that are dear to us:
Our jobs (careers)
Our brothers, our sisters, our homes, you name it.
For me it was the loss of a job and to certain extent a career that I spent 30 years building.
But you know I am surviving. I am embracing the process and learning to live by faith one day at a time.
I trust God to take care of me; yes, for the essentials (shelter, food, clothing, etc) and for the existential (the meaning of life, why me God, etc).
Yes it is scary, but I embrace this uncertainty, this mystery because the Lord has taught me that He is my shepherd and I shall not want (Psalm 23:1) and that He will carry my burdens daily (Psalm 68:19).
So in this time of loss, uncertainty and yes, questioning, my faith in my God is unwavering.
I know that God hears my sighs, sees my tears and even when I cannot pray intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express (Roman 8:26); and because of this, I know without doubt that I am in God’s care and in His will. Amen.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NIV).
“You are blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (The Message, Matthew 5:3).
God, I am at the end of my rope right now. In fact, I am losing my grip. I wouldn’t want to wish this _____________ (you name it) on anyone. But you said that I am blessed.
How can that be? Explain that to me? It is like I am in an endless pit. Teach me the secret of more of you. I want that reality for my life.
But then it hits me. If I put my focus on you instead of my problems I will feel blessed; blessed in such a way that I want to help others. One writer said that when we allow God to translate our problems into a ministry that our pain becomes someone else’s gain.*
We learned that when we are poor in spirit, we have more of God; and, isn’t that what we pray for anyway.
So as I pray daily, I remain hopeful, even as the grip gets tighter, in the words found in Ecclesiastes 7:8:
The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
*Batterson, M. (2006). In a pit with a lion on a snowy day.Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books