“God knows we have our own demons to be cast out, our own uncleanness to be cleansed. Neurotic anxiety happens to be my own particular demon, a floating sense of doom that has ruined many of what could have been, should have been, the happiest days of my life, and more than a few times in my life I have been raised from such ruins, which is another way of saying that more than a few times in my life I have been raised from death – death of the spirit anyway, death of the heart – by the healing power that Jesus calls us both to heal with and to be healed by.” ~Frederick Buechner
Time is a blur to me right now – I don’t know if the day has begun and I am chasing backwards, or if it’s not yet started and I am needing to run quickly to find it and put everything into the right place. In me always exists the battle that where I am is one step off of where I should be, that the best life for me is one missed choice in the succession of choices I keep making. There is always the “you’ll be sorry you missed this…” bubble-gum chorus singing loudly on social media and in letters from unaware friends, with a debilitating dose of “you’ll never quite get there from where you are…” added in. And I know my life is to some a “want to live your life” life too – so it adds its own words to the song that’s nothing more than a jingle in a world that cries for a symphony. Please focus me right now. Keep my eyes focused on this road and Your kind direction. Still me right now – still my heart. Please turn down the volume of the chorus. Please let me see You in scripture and let me find words to ponder, to cherish throughout the day. Let me see you in small ways today.
Everyone sing! No matter our voices, let us sing. Let everyone hear you scream “thank you!” Let’s sing and dance with reckless abandon. Because who deserves your songs like God Almighty? He is the only God worth praising, because He is the only God Almighty. He holds the depths in His hands – depths we can’t imagine. He holds the heights in His hands – heights we can’t see. He has made it all – everything is His. Let’s sing, and fall on our knees in humble worship – because His greatness brings us to our knees. He is our one and only God. We are His creation – His people – designed for His good and His glory. If He speaks, we must not ignore His voice. We must not turn away as others have. He has shown His power time and time again, and yet we, His very creation, have turned away or even more – looked at Him and said “is that all You’ve got?” He was disgusted by their selfishness, by their rebellion. And You kept Your rest from them. God, I ask – where have You gone? I feel You are so far far away. I feel so all alone, and I ache to have You near. I don’t understand this season – You have been right there, with me since before the moment of my birth. You had it all planned – where did You go? Please laugh right now when they see my condition – “Wow, yeah, that guy’s certainly God’s favorite. What a joke.” And they mock and laugh. I am beaten. I am bloodied. I am a mess. There is nothing about me on the outside that would say “this man is loved by God.” I am rejected. I am as good as dead. But you are still Holy. Still righteous. Still lovely. You are still amazing. Still precious. Still my God. And that’s what I’ll tell people. “My God is always there, even when I don’t feel His presence. My God is always mighty, even when my circumstances don’t show it. My God is THE Lord God Almighty!” I can’t keep myself alive. But You God are keeping me alive. And I will sing Your praise! (personal paraphrase of Psalm 95 from my Examen.me journal)
You. In the small things. In the “nothing’s going right” and “everything is taking far too long” things. In the “I feel so all alone” times. In the “I need to be alone” times. In the “when are You going to show Yourself?” seasons. In the “why do I still question You” moments. In the “do I really not know how to hear You?” reality of the day.
You. In the small things. In the “warmth of the sunshine” moments. In the “Paradise is this” things. In the “blessing upon blessing” times. In the “You are so near, so clear” seasons. In the “this – THIS is why I was born and why I feel You dance” days. In the “it all makes sense – even the things that make no sense” times.
You are there. In all moments, seasons, times. You are worthy of praise. I need eyes to see You in all the small things. In all the chorus-blaring loudly and I am overwhelmed moments. In all the quiet whispering moments. Still me right now to see that this place is Your place for me, and I’m not missing a thing.
Does the chorus of what’s happening in lives all around you become deafening? Where do you need to see God today in your own life to turn the sound down? How may I pray for you?
Last year, I shared the stories about pictures I’ve taken. This year during the month of October, I’m opening up my journal and sharing prayers. They’re not eloquent or poetic – they’re simple honest talks with God. Some prayers are joyful and some are screams. Some are said in the morning and some at night. It’s my hope the words might help someone else find the words.