We Need the Lord
I’ve been very aware of my need for God lately. It’s so easy to slide into the mode of, “I’ve got this.” Life happens, responsibilities pile up, hardships pile up, and we do everything we can to overcome. But if we can be still long enough to reflect on life and the reality, we realize, “we don’t got this.” So much of what we face is beyond our power. There are definitely things we can do (and should do!), but we also realize there are circumstances and outcomes that are simply beyond our power. And beyond that, when we can be still a little longer to reflect a little more, we realize that there are even greater needs and ultimate needs beyond the pressing, (often) consuming needs of the moment.
I've had to reckon with this the last year-and-a-half as we've dealt with health issues in our family. When stuff came up, I jumped into protector and provider mode to "get things under control" and "fix it." I poured into research in the evenings before bed and took the lead on family wide diet changes, finding the best doctors, finding the best treatments and managing the treatment process. Now, all those things are important and things I believe I needed to do (and would do again if I had to do it all over), but here's where the rubber meets the road: did all those actions grow from my faith and dependence upon God or apart from my faith and dependence upon God? I wish I could say that every step was a step of prayerful faith and I was at perfect peace the whole time, but that's not the reality. In truth I took a lot of the stress upon myself rather than truly casting all my anxiety on God. I prayed a lot for God's help and healing, but there's a difference between asking for God's help and totally surrendering in prayer to his mercy, power and will. I found myself in those "rubber-meets-the-road" moments of prayer, still holding on, not wanting to let go, wanting to take control of the outcome and the timing.
Can you relate to any of that?
But I suppose that's a more realistic picture of faith. As I reflect on the story of Hezekiah (who we regard as a great man of faith): when he was threatened the first time, he plundered the temple to pay off the Assyrians. It was only later that we see him seeking God and then surrendering to God in prayer. We see the same thing in many of the psalms. There are certainly powerful statements of confidence in God and devotion to God, but there's also lots of groaning and wrestling--wrestling between desired outcomes and God's action or (apparent) inaction. And those powerful statements of confidence are then what grows out of the groaning and wrestling.
I love the hymn we sing, "Be with me Lord"; it captures so much and helps me so much:
Be with me, Lord,
I cannot live without Thee,
I dare not try to take one step alone,
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need Thy strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me, Lord,
And then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap everywhere about me,
They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.
Be with me, Lord!
No other gift or blessing
Thou couldst bestow could with this one compare
A constant sense of Thy abiding presence,
Where'er I am, to feel that Thou art near.
Be with me, Lord,
when loneliness overtakes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of "my departure"
For "worlds unknown," O Lord, be with me then.
—“Be With Me Lord"; Music: Lloyd O. Sanderson, 1935; Lyrics: Thomas O. Chisholm, 1935
I guess the moral of the story is this: there's no perfect formula for faith and prayer so just keep turning to God, keep seeking, keep praying. We need his help in all things and we need him before all things.
May you know God and may he richly bless you and give you peace.