Sunday, February 21, 2010

Desperation Prayer

"In no way is it enough to set out cheerfully with God on any venture of faith. You must also be willing to take your ideas of what the journey will be like and tear them into tiny pieces, for nothing on the itinerary will happen as you expect." Lettie B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert

Psalm 91: 1-2 and 10-15

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."
no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will rescue him and honor him.

For the remainder of my life, Psalm 91 will take me back to a time when I was a pastor's wife in a church situation that was beginning to sour, with two children, Christmas coming, and a husband in the hospital with blood clots in his leg.

He still suffers from the aftermath, but at the time he was in a critically vulnerable place. I did not realize just how precarious it all was at the time, which is just as well. One night, coming home from a hospital visit, I could not sleep. I had a sense of impending disaster, and I was deeply afraid. I felt lost, alone, afraid that my inner being felt cold and dark...a sensation I have never felt since.

The children were asleep upstairs, and I was downstairs sitting in bed, Bible open. I was trying to pray and I was too frightened to be articulate. I offered myself and my fear to God, and I spent the rest of that night reading Psalm 91. I read it dozens of times, each time with a sort of desperation..."no evil shall come near..." but it seemed the evil had, indeed, come very close indeed.

About five a.m. I came to a place of surrender. It was not an easy nor comfortable place to be. I wish I could say that it was, and that I was at peace and full of faith. I wasn't, and It wasn't any of those things. It was simply surrender.

I spoke aloud to God, something like, "I did not expect this. I expected blessings. I mean, are we not doing what you called us to do? I do not want to raise these children alone. I don't know what I'll do if Ken dies. And I'm angry that this is happening. He deserves better than to spend Christmas in the hospital. We deserve better than an indifferent bunch of church people and a a deacon board who is probably feeling righteous and vindicated about it all. I need my husband, God....but may your will be done."

I cried as I said again, "May your will be done. I can't read anymore and I can't pray."

And I fell asleep. Was God waiting for my surrender? I don't know. But I do know that I fell asleep. Ken came home a couple of days later.

Perhaps you, like I was, are desperately clinging to what you think God should do?

God of the Secret Place, I pray for myself today, and my own struggle with heart-felt obedience. And I pray for those who may read this and realize they are struggling with the surrender you ask of them. I ask for peace, and especially for grace to relinquish all of the "shoulds" and "why nots" and "but, what about"s. Thank you for understanding our weakness and loving us still, for calling to us, for waiting for us to offer our expectations on an altar of surrender. Thank you for the strength that Christ has provided for us, the strength to tear our itinerary into tiny pieces. Amen


Ivy said...

Thank you for sharing this, Singing Owl. It poignantly expresses what I also experienced when my first marriage dissolved, which seemed so contrary to God's plan. And yet, when all is given to him, in full surrender, he has such wonderful blessings for us. I could not imagine then what God had in mind now. Glad you got Ken back. Streams in the Desert was a favorite of mine too. Blessings.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Thanks, Ivy, and blessings to you as well. Streams in the Desert is not good for me when things are good and happy, but it sure is a blessing in down times!

Ivy said...

That's for sure. It sounds like you're going through a difficult time right now. I'm sorry I've gotten very behind on my favorite blogs. May God surround you with his peace.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

I'm out of touch too with some of my favorites. Trying to catch up. I'm not really going through a rough time at the is more the aftermath and sorting out after the rough time, if that makes sense. I decided to do this series partly as a way to get myself focused on what matters. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm not clinging to much of anything at the moment, but I've been in your situation before. Hope you can find peace.