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Archive for August, 2011


Father,

As I thoughtfully look about,

Appraising my circumstances,

Which are not what I desired—

Not at all what I had planned—

I don’t understand where You are leading,

Nor do I understand why I must travel

My path in such isolation as a solitary figure.

I wanted my life to be so different—

To be easier and more carefree—

But that has not been what I’ve experienced.

As I see the smiling faces of others—

Those who talk about You as if they

Know You intimately but do not—

I wonder why their lives appear to be

Free from disappointment and conflict,

While mine has been stressful and difficult.

I wonder if I will ever experience joy again?

Father, tell me when will Your pruning hand

Be finished with its relentless alterations?

When will I awaken from darkness and despair,

To a bright, sunny day, filled with promise—

Free from sorrow—free from loss?

When will You move in a mighty

Redemptive way, to strengthen me?

When will You say to my enemies,

This is my child—my beloved child—

Whom I will strengthen and establish with power.

Let all who wonder know that it is I—

The great “I Am” who has done this work.

Father, I know that You are in charge;

That You have numbered my days

And each of my time is in Your hands.

It is within Your power to change everything—

To allow my life to have far more meaning.

Please finish Your transformations quickly,

So that I can withstand the swirling wind

With its foreboding clouds that has encompassed me.

But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and all of us are the work of Thy hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord, neither remember iniquity forever; behold, look now, all of us are Thy people. (Isaiah 64:8-9)

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Father,

For those who wait patiently for You,

For those who come to You for guidance,

Rather than taking matters into their own hands,

You promise that they will mount up with wings like eagles,

That they will run and not grow weary—

That they will walk and never faint.

In the depth of my despair, in my intense heartache,

Your promises seemed so remote,

So obscure, so meaningless and unattainable

That I was certain they were beyond my reach.

I never considered them to be real or tangible.

To me, they were nothing more than sappy, poetic words.

In my pain and heartache, all I wanted was relief,

Which at times was so intense I thought it would never end.

I begged You to answer my insistent demands,

Which You never did, adding to my distress.

I felt so unloved and abandoned—even by You,

Which magnified my pain tenfold, maybe twenty.

You did answer my prayers, but You just said “No.”

You loved me enough to prevent me form outcomes

That were clearly not in my best interest.

In my disquietude and short-sightedness,

I couldn’t understand or fathom Your will, but now I do.

Because I chose Your path instead of my willful self-destruction,

You have brought me to a higher plateau—

To a place where I am now capable

Of mounting up with wings like an eagle—

Just as You promised in Your Word.

Because You restore the years the locust have eaten,

I feel refreshed—invigorated with a determined resolve—

Which has increased my energy dramatically.

As my strength and faith continue to abound,

I feel empowered to run and not grow weary.

Now, I can willingly bow my knee and thank You

For caring for me enough to refuse my demands.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am you God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10-11)

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Father,

There was a path that seemed so promising—

A road that looked like it was Your way,

But it was not. It required far too much

Compromise to be something that You would honor.

In the deepest recesses of my heart,

I knew it—in spite of all my protestations.

Nevertheless, I followed that path,

Which I knew was the wrong way,

Paying a terrible price for doing so.

Later, with no other acceptable recourse,

I came back to You, just as I have always done—

Sorrowful, humbled, and crushed—with hat in hand,

Ready and willing to accept necessary change.

This time, however, instead of medicating my pain,

I endured the necessary heartache for a period,

Which I thought was far too long, but You knew

Was exactly the time that was required.

You promised that if I would humble myself

You would exalt me at the proper time.

I didn’t believe this was true—not literally,

Nor that You would do it—not really.

But You have, and I can clearly see

Your hand in the restoration of my life.

Now, I stand strong, far wiser, and more resilient,

With a countenance that is calm and sane.

Humbling myself because I had no alternative,

I never considered that—in Your wisdom—

You had orchestrated my circumstances

In a way that I could do nothing other than look to You.

This wasn’t the road I would have chosen for myself,

But it’s the road You have chosen for me.

I wish I could say that I have learned all my lessons,

But I know who I am. I know that in my heart—

I am prone to wander—prone to leave the God I love.

Father, take my heart—take and seal it—

From following fruitless paths leading nowhere.

Make me know Thy ways, O Lord; Teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou are the God of my salvation; For Thee I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been from of old. (Psalm 25:4-6)

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Father,

Sometimes I’m so afraid

That my skin grows cold

And I can hardly breathe.

I feel so helpless and all alone.

I’m afraid of so many things—

Of people, of places, of isolation,

Of death, and of economic insecurity.

The list seems endless, Father,

And I am powerless to calm my fears,

Which rob me both of sleep and serenity.

Without Your protection as a shield,

I fear that imminent devastation

Will be my destiny, destroying my life.

I am so consumed with fear that

I can’t hear Your reassuring voice.

In my heart, I know that You are

My refuge—my source of strength—

And that I can rely on You completely.

In You, I am safe and sheltered from storms

That threaten to destroy my future.

Help me to be calm and confident

Regardless of my circumstances—

Not shrinking away but standing firm,

While dwelling in the safety of Your strength.

Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?” Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us O Lord! Thou has put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:6-8)

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Father,

Sometimes, life can be so complicated.

Doing the right thing seems easy enough,

Until it comes time to do it,

When the dread of adverse consequences

Becomes an overwhelming concern.

My heart’s desire is for my life to get easier.

Tell me, why am I so special that my journey

Is constantly filled with such difficulties?

Why can’t things go smoothly—just for a while?

Why me, Lord? Why me? Why? Why? Why?

I don’t want to sound like I’m whining,

But I know that I am. I’m complaining because

My shoes are too tight, while others go barefoot.

I know I should be more grateful,

But I want a respite from my anguish.

I want to be far from despair and sorrow.

The “Be warmed and be filled” crowd of Christians

Smile and offer meaningless, glib platitudes,

As I try to nurse wounds that I fear will destroy me.

I want to serve You with gladness and joy,

But I have no sense of hope within—

Nothing that can sustain me for more

Than a few moments at a time.

I don’t want to be a robotic automaton,

Pretending that everything is fine and joyous,

When I know that things are dreadfully wrong.

My days, which are numbered by You,

Are passing before me, and it all seems

Like a terrible, meaningless waste.

Intervene, Lord, and allow me to know

Joy and gladness once again.

Fill my days with peace and purpose,

So that I can tell other of Your fidelity.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. (Psalm 27:4-5)

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Father,

You know how badly

I have been mistreated

By those who should have nurtured my welfare

But have done exactly the opposite,

Taking advantage of my trusting nature instead.

I’ve expressed my outrage and indignation

To You so often that I’ve lost count.

This affront has wounded me so deeply that—

Out of my pain—I know I have hurt others,

Which I’ve sought to justify but cannot.

I fear that I have become like those who have hurt me,

Injuring the innocent—just as I once was.

Father, I acknowledge that I have done this,

And I am becoming someone I don’t want to be.

I don’t want to be like my abusers,

But to be honest, I know I have been,

Despite my insistent denials that I have not.

Forgive me, Father. Heal my wounds,

And restore gladness to my troubled soul.

As a conscious act of contrition, I choose to renounce

My self-serving ways, which have been so destructive.

Despite my pain, anger, and disquietude,

I make a commitment to abandon my malice.

To ensure that I fulfill my resolution,

I will need Your strength and guidance.

Will You reach down and touch me?

Will You help me bridle my sharp tongue?

Will You keep my feet from stumbling?

Will You transform my wandering heart,

And maintain it close to You?

I need Your help now, Father.

Without it, my resolve will be short lived

Amounting to nothing more than empty words.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:30-32)

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Father,

You are the Master Architect

Engineering the events of my life,

Providing an opportunity for me

To rise to the occasion each and every day.

At times, Your leading seems clear,

While at others, it’s remote, appearing to be

So far away that I can’t find You,

Regardless of how hard I try.

Even when Your presence alludes me,

I know that You are there.

You are always guiding me—

Always present, always vigilant.

As my life becomes increasingly visible

And people occasionally look to me for guidance,

Let my life speak of what You have done—

Not by my words, which seem so inadequate,

And may appear to be petty, trite and shallow—

But by my actions, which are observable by all.

Oh, how I loathe the pompously religious—

Those with self-aggrandizing, arrogant, unyielding hearts.

May I never be like them—like those

Who talk of Your love and guidance,

While seeking an advantage over others

Who foolishly trust them completely.

Let my witness be viewed by my actions,

And not by my mellifluous tongue,

Which I know can be self-serving and serpentine.

Make me know Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Ty truth and teach me, for Thou are the God of my salvation; For Thee I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5)

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