Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a prayer for regaining perspective

     When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion foreverPs. 73:21-26 
     Gracious Father, the older I get, the more I appreciate the many characters and voices you’re recorded for us in your Word. There’s no moment, scenario or story we’ll experience in life that you haven’t anticipated. Such is the reach and riches of the Scriptures. Today I praise you for writing into Israel’s hymnal a song for the bitter and the beastly.
     There are times when I forget that I’m living in a fallen world, with a fragile heart, among people just as foolish as me. When my fellowship with you gets broken, I’m capable of acting out in very harmful ways. I lose perspective and love poorly. My expectations of you and of others become more connected to “La-La Land” than to reality. I become just like the psalmist Asaph—an envious, angry, senseless mess.
     Father, that you tolerate me in those times of disconnect is extraordinary. That you still treasure me when I lose touch with gospel sanity is astonishing. When I shake my fist at you, your grasp of grace is all the tighter. When I complain about a stony silent heaven, you’re actively, quietly guiding my every footstep.
     When I try to ignore, spite, or run away from you, you’re neither surprised nor offended. You just arrange circumstances of your choosing to recapture my wandering heart. Nothing can separate me from your love or cause it to diminish one degree. In the end, you will take me into glory, for you’ve committed to complete “the good work” you’ve begun in me (Phil 1:6). The gospel really is this big and this good.
     Father, your contra-conditional, unwavering, all-encompassing love melts my icy, prone-to-throwing-pity-parties heart. Continue the thaw. I’m not just the biggest loser when I pitch my tent in the land of disconnected heart; I’m also a thief, robbing a lot of people who are dear to me. Rescue me from my self-centeredness and demandingness. Because the gospel is true, you are my strength and portion forever. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ faithful and tenacious name.
-Scotty Smith

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