Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In the Midst of Our Many Things {And a Midweek Prayer}

All week I've struggled with what to offer here. As I've taken writing more seriously, I've begun to plan out posts and think ahead. I've considered projects. I've scrawled pages of future series and posts in my writing journal. 

It's felt a bit like planning all of next month's dinners and not have a clue what to fix for tonight. 

All week I've had nothing. I've simply had to wait for the right words to show up. 

Last night I began to feel anxious. Writing has gone beyond that of hobby and become my work. And it's a strange thing to show up for work without anything to offer. So I prayed for "word-manna" like I pray for other needs.

These are the words that arrived. Instead of a rich offering, apparently all I can bring is my own confession of worry and need.

There is no crisis. No dire situation. I've walked that road but it's not the path I currently tread. Still, there are things right now. Things that keep me from falling asleep even though I'm tired. Things that make my insides tighten and invite pretend conversations in my head while I'm standing at the stove. Things that make me too angry. Things that are painfully unresolved. Things that unexpectedly push out tears when I'm sharing my heart with my husband or conferencing with the psychologist or working on the budget or thinking of loved ones walking the hard road or running into an old friend wading through deeply troubled waters.

I am Martha, worried about her "many things" even though Jesus is in the next room.

I am the disciples in the ship that's filling up with water, afraid and near faithless even though Jesus is on board with them. 

I am the eager, well-intentioned follower saying, Sure Jesus, I'll be right there but let me just take care of some stuff real quick. He chooses to run back even though Jesus is standing right in front of him.

I mentioned last month that I'm studying the book of Matthew this year. I've seen my own reflection in the pages, my own functional unbelief and unawareness. In so many of these familiar Bible stories of the Gospels—stressed-out Martha, the sinking boat, the curious but preoccupied followers—I've noticed how Christ's own followers, in the midst of all their things, forgot the most important thing, the reality that changes everything.

Jesus was with them.

They had all they needed. 

They simply forgot who He was and what He could do and what He had already done and what He was calling them to. 

Two thousand years later, we are just as prone to forget. 

This week and the week before and the week before that, I've forgotten. 

The noise of my anxious spirit drowned out his voice, the voice that speaks "great calm," whether it's an all-out storm or the crazy bustle of countless preparations or the hundred worries wound tight inside a woman's heart.


Might I offer a mid-week prayer right where we are today, a prayer that acknowledges {in the words of Francis Schaeffer} that He is there and He is not silent

Often the only thing I bring is the awareness of my own need and insufficiency and forgetfulness. That's the backwards offering I hold out today. Maybe it's the one you bring too. If so, this prayer is for us.

Jesus, we believe. Forgive us for our unbelief. Forgive us for our upside-down priorities and practical atheism. Forgive us for our fear of man and dread of circumstances that invite worry to loom large and cause you to grow dim. 
Remind us that you are with us--in the stormy waters and inside the chaotic house and beside us in our "impossible" situations. You're with us amid the overwhelming crowds and when we're alone, stuck with the uncomfortable silence of our souls.  
Wherever we are, you're with us. Help us to know this. Speak into our uncertain lives, "Peace! Be still!" and may we experience today, among all the many things that threaten to distract us, the "great calm" you still bring. Make our spirits still, give us hearts that trust, and bend our lives to follow you. 
You are with us; therefore we have all we need. Thank you for your presence. Amen.


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  1. I definitely think God answered your prayer and gave you "word-manna." There's a lot of truth packed in this post and it's food for the soul. My soul. I needed this today. Thank you for sharing these insights that have caused me to pause and remember God's power in the midst of my many things.

  2. Scooper, what a reminder to lean on Him. Thank you so much for sharing this post.
    You are, and will continue to be, a great writer -- He placed that desire in you and I am so grateful.
    As always, you express what is needed at the time. Thank you.
    Hugs all around.

  3. Amen, friend. Amen. For you and for me.

    I have to ask: if you're studying Matthew, have you read The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard?


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