Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PRAYER: To my God when in troubles

My God, here in the hours of the late night I rest in your presence. I came boldly, dragging my ragged self into your holy light.  You know, my God, that I do not read your word because I am holy, but because I am sick, and need your medicine. 

You are the source of all that is sweet and bright in my life, the one who refreshes me when I am beyond refreshing.  Those who look to you are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame!  Do good to your servant that I may live and obey your word.  Remember your promise to never think of my sins again.  Deal gently with me and lift up my face, for I am dust, a whisper of smoke that quickly passes. 

How great is your love for those who fear you!  And you keep my tears in a bottle.  So now grant me this, Lord: that you come near to me, for I am lonely and weak in heart.  Come here, please, as I come to you.  Let me be as St. John who rested his head on your chest at the table.  And I will look up with joy, because you have heard my request.  I will hold my chin high because you have been kind to me.  I know you have heard my prayers for help and will deliver me from all my troubles. 

"The righteous man has many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Suffering: Pointing Fingers in the Wrong Direction?

A whole lot of passionate and upset talk goes on about God and Suffering.  How can a Loving God permit us to suffer unfairly?  If He is so powerful why doesn't He stop our suffering?  What about all the innocents who for example are homeless or crushed or crippled by the earthquake in Haiti or the hurricane in New Orleans? 

It seems to some of us sensitive moderns that God doesn't do a very good job at being nice.  The best excuse for him we can scrape together is that perhaps he doesn't ordain or control this world, but that he is somehow experiencing it as we do, in a sort of state of constant surprise. 

That sort of stuff won't do.  Either God wears the pants or He needs to find another name for himself.  And maybe someone should slap me, but I think generally we're pointing fingers in the wrong direction when we have a problem with God.  Don't get me wrong. I've worked with crippled orphans in China, ached for frost-bitten beggars in the street, been furious over child-prostitution in Cambodia, and been so angry at God for all the suffering in the world I have shouted at him for an hour or not talked to him for months. 

I don't have all the logical answers I used to have. Maybe I'll have them again someday. But I've learned enough to know that any wrath and finger-pointing really needs to point at us.  The more I see of humans and into my own heart, the more I feel sad for us and our selfishness.  God doesn't need a PR guy but I want to say this anyway:  He's the good guy.  I've touched the hem of his garments and caught glimpses of his eyes and seen and felt the sunshine of his face.  "Taste and see that the Lord is good."  He's the force for good and healing in this world.  If I can point a finger for a minute, I want to point it at Jesus, God in the flesh, hanging on the cross.  That's a hint to what God is really like, even when we don't know all the why's of what he's doing. Save your angry questions for those who deserve it. Like you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

THOUGHTS: The Coming Dawn

May your hearts burn warm as gold.  May sunshine be ever growing in your face and cheeks and eyes.  May peace like a river swell in your heart as you hum and break into singing in your living room and in your car.  May the stars speak love to you in the night and the sun shout it by day.  May every frog and dog and bird you see bring messages of life from the Lover of all things.  And may your days wax richer, your passion burn deeper, your hand hold tighter to the swinging hand of the Almighty Father of all things. 

Forever you will live, those of you blessed to abide in His shadow. Forever you will rest and run for joy.  No eye has seen the peace you will experience, no ear has heard the fitting things He plans toward us through time and space. 

For now you wait on the racked and dying crust of a lonely planet. For a time you see with the eyes of pain and restlessness the blood and hear the tears that also ache the heart of God.  But peace will come to you who rest in Jesus. He will gather His sheep in His arms and lead them home.  The age of evil is breathing its last days. The sunrise of righteousness sweeps toward us. Let those in the night know the Sun is rushing over a turning world to the time of dawn. 

And after the ashes of this earth are blown away a crisp, fresh world will rise like the scent of flowers on an April breeze.  And prophetic words will cease in the knowing peace. And miracles will be no more for all things will be new.  Rest your hearts in the darkness. Listen to the song of the nightingale for he sings of day.  And light will rise on the righteous in the coming dawn.  And all will see in the light the Son of Man, a sword in hand for evildoers. He will rise with healing in His wings. May your hearts burn warm as gold refined by fire.