In prayer, Josh, our Youth Minister often asks God to “show up” for people as he prays for their needs. When I first heard him say that it caught my attention and I admit I had to roll it around in my thoughts and soon decided I liked it because it’s such an in the moment request. As I thought it over though, I realized that God also wants me to ‘show up’.
I’m reading through the bible again this year and as usual I discover so many things I’ve not picked up on during previous reads. It makes me wonder how I could possibly miss some of the things I miss. I’m also reading Phillip Yancey’s book on Prayer. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it. I’m only about half way through and I already know I will read it again. It’s that good! It has certainly struck more than the occasional chord with me.
As many do, I struggle with different issues, sometimes more often than I like. Discipline in some areas is one of the things I struggle with. I have also struggled with prayer on many occasions. Sometimes I feel like I’m wrestling with God or I pray because I know I’m supposed to pray, yet my heart isn’t into praying. Other times I feel like a warrior. On occasion I feel like a prisoner.
In his book, Yancy brings out the importance of relationship and partnership with God and I am realizing more and more that just as my marriage is an intimate and cherished relationship that requires a lot of give and take on both sides, so it is with God. I must be open, honest and bare myself to him. (Yes he already knows) I believe he just wants to make sure I know and that I’m willing to give as much of myself to him as I want him to give to me. Acknowledging this is rather like cold water in my face. I ask myself when I have these light-bulb moments “why are the simplest and sometimes the most obvious points the hardest for me to see”.
I always hit the shower as soon as I get up each morning. This morning even though I had a good night of rest, I felt out of sorts as I poured my coffee and sat down to read. I have a routine that works best for me and reading my bible early definitely works best for me, before distractions and tasks take over. My retention span is much sharper in the morning.
As I was preparing to read I found myself looking at the outside thermometer. It was already in the mid 70’s at 6:45 and a predicted high of 95. I reminded myself I needed to walk before it gets too hot out. I have spent much of my life losing/gaining weight. Over the winter I put on weight so I started walking again about two weeks ago. Regardless if I lose weight or not walking makes me feel so GOOD!
With that one distraction of looking at the temperature I found myself in conversation with God, I told him that I knew he could fix the parts of me that are broken if he wanted to and that as many times as I have asked it still hasn’t happened. I told him I didn’t understand “why.” I told him I know his grace is sufficient for me, but that I still wanted to be made whole in the areas I struggle with. (Please don’t think poorly of me, I’m just being honest). I asked him what lessons he wants me to learn for all the times I perceive he is saying ‘no’. I thought to myself, I’m not getting any younger.
I cry a lot when I talk to God and I was crying this morning. I always apologize to him when I feel like I’m behaving like a child who wants my way, I apologize for questioning his delay and asking him in an accusing voice “if he even intends to answer my prayer or not”? I remind him or my sick friend and I remind him how persistently I have been praying for her and yet she is still so very ill. Why God, why don’t you heal her? Then I always thank him for loving me because to be perfectly honest, that one still surprises me when I recall all the times I turned my back on him. I would have turned my back on me a long time ago.
I continue on throwing my questions out, crying, inwardly struggling, have I gone too far, have I said too much? I glimpse at the clock and I realize my husband will soon be out of the shower. I need to pull myself together lest I have to explain my tears. As I try to compose myself I remember how much God truly loves me and I am humbled and the tears flow uncontrollably. I remember how he has taught me to love others and he has taught me to forgive. Forgivness was huge for me. I’m rambling, jumping from one subject to another and suddendly I realize, I showed up!! I was communing with God in a most intimate way. I realize it’s not the first time either, just as God shows up for me I’m learning more and more to show up for him. I recognize too….I like showing up!
Ps 139:7-12 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.