Stay Strong, Trust and Enjoy! :)
"Bouncing across raging seas, bent to our knees and clinging for safety, is where we learn to pray.
Ask Noah, adrift on the swells of the diluvian sea.
Ask Jonah, tossed about on the Mediterranean.
Ask the disciples, taking on water on the Sea of Galilee.
Ask Paul, weathering perilous storms on voyage after voyage.
The storm you're facing may be financial, when you find yourself caught up in a Category 4 hurricane that sweeps over the economy like Katrina over the Gulf Coast.
Widespread flooding. Levees breaking. Your home underwater. Your family drowning in debt.
Standing in water to your waist is where you will learn to pray.
Your storm may be vocational, when your job is outsourced overseas or made obsolete by technology.
Wet with tears, your prayers take on new urgency.
The storm you face may be relational, when a friendship turns against you.
When a teenager is caught in the vortex of raging hormones, tempestuous emotions, and pressures from peers.
When a marriage is broadsided by a rogue wave of infidelity or grounded on a shallow reef that slowly sinks it.
Stuck in the mire, you pray.
Your storm may be physical, when your loss of balance turns out to be MS, or the lump turns out to be malignant.
It can be emotional, when the undulations of mood plunge you into the depths of depression.
Gasping for air, you pray.
The storm in your life may be a spiritual one, when you have been driven and tossed by the wind for so long and you have taken on so much water that you are filled with doubt.
You are holding on, but just barely, as wave after wave washes over you.
You're gasping for air, heaving your insides out.
Your eyes are stinging from all the water, and you can hardly see anything clearly.
How much more can you take?
How much longer can you hold on?
When your grip is slipping and you are suffocating, you feel as though the very last thing you can do is pray.
During these times, I most often pipe short, clipped, desperate prayers:
"Save me, Lord!"
"Please, help me."
In a storm there are no requisite word counts.
There is no formal grammar.
There are no lofty phrases.
The Jesus prayer has just seven words:
"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."
Anne Lamott, who seems to pray like me, once identified the two most popular prayers in the world, ostensibly mid-storm and post-storm, as
"Help, help, help" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
The witness of Jesus' own disciples demonstrates that elaborate construction is not necessary:
"Master, don't you care that we are perishing?"
That was the prayer the disciples prayed when the storm swept over their boat and Jesus was asleep in the stern.
"Lord, save me!"
This was the prayer Peter prayed when he stepped out of the boat, taking his eyes off of Jesus and onto the wind and the waves that slapped against him.
The one prayer was a question, the other an exclamation.
In every life there are times when Jesus does seem to be asleep in the stern, while our lives are taking on water, and we are breaking our backs, bailing our hearts out.
How can he possibly be sleeping? On a cushion, no less!
How could he not hear the waves smashing against the hull, not feel the water sloshing over the sides?
How could he not see that we are perishing?
How could he not care?
We wake him with our prayers, or so it seems.
And he is inconvenienced, or so it seems.
The question turns the way it did with the widow's question to the unrighteous judge (Luke 18:1–8).
And we learn that while we are looking for rescue, he is looking for FAITH.
It is difficult to be hard on the disciples.
What should they have done?
How should they have approached him?
They didn't come to Jesus until they'd come to the end of themselves.
Maybe that is what prompted the rebuke.
Maybe they looked at him as their last resort INSTEAD of their FIRST.
Maybe they didn't want to disturb him, and that is what he wanted them to do most.
To come to him FIRST.
To realize he would WANT them to come to him first.
Jesus, no doubt, would have gladly received just a single word:
There have been a lot of times when I have cried myself to sleep while praying.
Not sobbing, just gentle tears spilling from my eyes.
When the storm has raged for too long, we are weary.
We are out of thoughts.
We are out of feelings.
We are out of prayers.
When we've reached the end, Jesus simply receives us.
A heaving of your heart toward heaven, however heavy it may be to lift, however hard it may be to heft.
When it is too hard, the Holy Spirit will do the heaving, lifting, groaning, to carry it for you.
Unclenching our fists, the movement of prayer is to trust with the trust of Jesus.
In the same way Jesus fully entrusted himself into the hands of the Father who loved him, so we too are invited to entrust our lives into the hands of the Father who loves us.
Where you find yourself today, whether drifting effortlessly on serene glassy waters or thrown by desperate violent waves, how do your prayers sound?
Like sinking Peter, do you instinctively call out to Jesus for help?
Or like Jesus' terrified disciples, have you been hesitant to rouse the Master?
Hoarse from praying, do you at last offer a humble prayer of relinquishment?
Or speechless, desperate, do you simply lift your eyes toward heaven and let the Spirit interpret the groans of your heart?
Whichever way, always know that Jesus' ear is constantly attuned to those who find themselves in life's storms.
Sometimes he quiets the storm.
Always, he calms and delivers his child."
"Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer." - R. A. Torrey
Taken From "At Peace in the Storm" by Ken Gire
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Where We Learn
I apologize in advance for the length of this post but I truly hope you can soldier through it (and if not perhaps you can table it for when you have a few extra minutes) as I believe it carries a powerful message that will truly resonate strongly with a lot of us as we navigate this journey of life on earth!