Our reading for this Wednesday, January 30, 2019 is Ps 116:1-7.
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. 2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!” 5 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. 6 The Lord protects the simple hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. 7 Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. NIV
It comes natural for us to praise the Lord and profess our love for him when we have been granted the requests we ask of him. But what if our prayers go unanswered? Will we then find a reason for prayer? We do not ever have to consider this for God always answers our prayers. It may not be the way we want, but he still responds. It may be through the strength to get through a difficult time or the wisdom to understand and form a decision. Then again God might provide us with the courage to act on something we are compelled to do because it is the right thing to do even if it makes us uncomfortable or carries with it a consequence we do not want.
There are other ways God answers our prayers. Maybe by setting up the opportunity for blessing we will not realize until later down the road or by putting us in the place where we can be a blessing to others. Sometimes we cannot recognize how God has responded to our prayers. God may make something positive happen as a result of the sorrow, pain or disappoint we may have to endure. This I call God redeeming our struggles. What we suffer is never enjoyable even though the person of faith looks for the redemptive value behind events.
A person one time responded to me that I was just trying to excuse God for what was obvious was God’s absence or death ear. Another used this as an excuse for unbelief. How unfortunate for them for their bitterness did not spare or mitigate their bitterness or sorrow. Only through the eyes of faith uncovering the real active presence of God do our struggles, sorrows and challenges find meaning and redemption. Otherwise we consider God cruel or surrender to cruel fate. I do not want to be that kind of negative person that I have seen others become. Faith is the only way of victory and the way to the power to overcome.
I have known Christ’s presence in the darkest moments of my life providing me with comfort and guidance toward a way forward. I have also known those moments I have celebrated the very answer to my need and my request. The psalmist celebrates the miraculous sparing of his life as reason for commitment and profession of praise. I would hope that should I not be spared sorrow and even death that my life would proclaim his praise. I am faithful to the Lord solely because doing so is the only right thing to do. Whether I am rewarded by special privilege or not, I long for his embrace and good word of “Well done!”
Some people will say that I’m “simple minded;” I believe I am “single minded” in love with my Lord who has proved himself faithful to me over and over again. He has saved me and is saving me yet in this journey of my life. I know that God is gracious, righteous and full of compassion. I have experienced it and nothing can convince me otherwise. I will also call o him as long as I live. I will not give up; I will not give in. He is my hope and stay in life. The Lord is my life.