Monday, April 29, 2013

Praying in circles

"God, please be working out Aaron's job.  Oh, Lord, you know we would love Job X; it's the best financially for our family, but it feels like such a long shot. "  (How are we going to pay for a fence at the new house for Maggie?)  "And that's another thing, Father, the fence...if Aaron got Job X, we could build a fence, but if he has to work at Place Y, no money for a fence.  But maybe that's how you want to work in our lives?  Because if he got Job X, it would clearly be from You.  You would be our Provider!  But then what if you what him to work at Place Y so that we have no extra cash anywhere, and then you step in and do crazy things for what we really need?  (Do we really need a fence? A rope might work?)  

That is a live and true excerpt from one of my prayers lately.  I told Aaron this morning I feel like I am praying in circles.  Except for the all-inclusive "Thy will be done", I have no idea how to pray about our future.   I want to ask God for big things, but what if I'm asking out of a selfish place?  I know God gives good things, but what if my concept of "good" is a far cry from His?  And, good grief, what about the people in India that are slaves, and how can I ask for a good job for my husband when they need deliverance and three square meals? 

Please tell me you sometimes pray in these circles too?  

I don't have it all figured out.  That's one thing I can settle on.

The other thing on which I'm settling?  

The knowledge that God IS.  He is, in infinite ways, so much more than me.  More than my thoughts.  More than this world.  When I find myself praying in circles, I come back to this:

"Father, you know.  You know.  Take my heart, take these prayers.  Sift them as they should be."

And maybe it is okay to just pray, 

"Thy will be done."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

O for a faith that will not shrink

I love the words of old hymns.  I didn't grow up singing them.  No, the words of my childhood church memories are largely 80s praise choruses.  Our God is an awesome God, anyone?  Or anything by Dennis Jernigan?

Hymns and I became intimately acquainted in college.  I picked up a discarded church hymnal from a garage sale, and ever since, I've found many words to be an anchor and a compass, scribbling stanzas in journal after journal.

O for a faith that will not shrink.  I found this one last week.  It was a sweet and timely message for me.  If there was a word for 2013 so far, it would have to be change. There are actually just two changes, but added together, they create a large lot of uncertainty in a human heart.  First, the precious baby that was a surprise.  Second, it's our last year with K-Life.

As of today, Aaron doesn't yet have a job past May 16.  There are some possibilities, some better than others.  In the waiting, there have been tears and anger and fist-shaking.  There have also been moments of sweet surrender and peace.

We are growing.  

That is certain.

O, for a faith that will not shrink,
Though pressed by every foe,
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe!

That will not murmur nor complain
Beneath the chastening rod,
But, in the hour of grief or pain,
Will lean upon its God.

A faith that shines more bright and clear
When tempests rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear,
In darkness feels no doubt.