Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day Sixteen: Repeat as Necessary

We're going to soldier through and finish Psalm 119 today. It's been a long time coming, huh? This is the longest prayer in the Bible, and to be honest, I was a little afraid we'd get bogged down in it and never find our way out. But the risk seems worth it, because this Psalm is a pretty handy thing to have at our disposal when we're asking God to do big things in our lives.
(Which, if we land in the exciting, dynamic lives some of us dream of, might be everyday...)

If you've read my book, you'll know that I first happened upon Psalm 119 as a escape hatch when I found myself facing a certain type of temptation (the nature of which I won't mention here because who needs that kind of web traffic?) Let's just say that sometimes, taking your mind off of things for a half hour or so is a helpful option :)

But now, as I read these last few sections, I'm struck by something slightly different: how the writer of this prayer reminds himself--and God--of the same few things, over and over and over again. At it's core, Psalm 119 goes something like this:

1. Okay God, I've investigated all the other options. I get it: your way is the best way if I want things to go well for me.

2. But I'm likely to lose sight of this, because--let's be honest-- the other ways of approaching life seem a lot cooler and more attractive than yours. But I've seen where those ways lead--which is pretty much nowhere.

3. Your way, in contrast, produces great results. I'll try to focus on that, because that's what I want my life to look like.

4. And now that we've established this, God...could you PLEASE answer my prayers?

I love the honesty in this. It reminds me that I have every right to come to God morning, noon, and night asking for the deepest desires of my heart. Why? Because I've decided to live according to his system...and this is how his system operates. He set it up this way. We don't bug God with our prayers; rather, we invite him into places that have up to this point been labeled, "No Divine Help Needed/I'm Fine Here, Really..."

Look at all the things the writer asks for in the final section of Psalm 119:
Hear my prayer
Give me understanding
Deliver me
Teach me
Help me
Save me
Let me live that I might praise you....

And by "live" here, I think he means the abundant life Jesus promises, not just mere survival. As Nichole Nordeman, my favorite singer-songwriter asks so poignantly:

Why would a young man live in a waste land
When the castle of his dreams is standing by?
And why would a princess put on an old dress
To dance with her beloved and the chance to catch his eye?

Why, indeed?

Her song, Live, is today's addition to the playlist. Let's ask God to make it possible (and repeat as necessary).


Aimee said...

I thik the repition and not being discouraged if we don't get what we want (or think we want) right away is key. Thaks for the reminder!

Sarakastic said...

I needed to hear this today

Breeza said...

Me too. I'm still not happy with God but I know His way is the only way I want to live.

Liza said...

Thanks for the reminder. It is really hard to wait on God's time.

Suzanne said...

I have been really struggling with depression and a sense of hopelessness for the past two days. I feel like God will never anser my prayers. I wonder if this is a normal phase of the 40 day journey?

So, I went through Ps. 119 again and wrote out the verses that really spoke to me. I'm going to keep up my end of the bargain and see this through to the end of 40 days, but I really need God to come through on His end and let me see him 'directing my steps'.

the teacher said...

these are words of encouragement to hold us up when we get so easily discouraged. i just got home from an amazing church retreat sunday. i can't believe i am already letting things get to me this soon. i know that whatever is meant to happen for me will happen in God's time, but i just pray that i can live my life not feeling like i am just wasting days away until it gets here. i strive to be better at being appreciative and content.

Patti said...

this weekend i prayed that a stuck wheel would come off a truck in order to fix the brakes. when my fil discovered i prayed for the wheel to loosen and be freed, he advised me to pray for more important things. i told him that god wants all of my desires, all of my concerns, all of my faith. and his too.

the next day, when the wheel popped off, my fil asked me if he got any of the credit for all the work he put into it. i told him, absolutely. god is happy for all our hard work.

Kim said...

Oh Patti,
I love your stuck wheel story. That made me smile.

This weekend I asked for something specific as well.

My children's fiction story has been sitting at a major publishing since December. The waiting is killing me. I asked God to let me hear some good news from the editor yesterday.

Guess what?

I received good news from a different editor yesterday regarding a romance novella I'd sent to a contest. The editor wrote to me and said she didn't accept my story for her anthology, but liked it so much that she sent it on to another editor in her house. BIG prayers they like it well enough to buy it.

Soooo. I got good news from an editor on the day I asked for it. Just not the news I was looking for, nor the editor. LOL. But I'll take it. God is showing me that I am on the right path and giving me the encouragement, support, friends, and prayer buddies :) needed to succeed. I'm also learning patience--something I've never been very good at.

Blessings to you all.

Larramie said...

I think Patti's story says it all.

ForstRose said...

I like the stanza of the song you posted today. It asks a question that I know I ask myself and wonder about people in general many times. Why would we choose what prevents exactly the results we desire when we are aware of a much better choice available to us?

The Bible says man can't plead ignorance as creation itself testifies to The Creator. So what's left to answer that question? Comfort, Familiarity ... but if we don't like the results why stay on that path?

I still ask myself that many times and can't come up with a reasonable answer to why I avoid the best way when I've seen what He is capable of and where other ways land me.

I love the way Nichole phrases the options in that stanza of the song though because it makes it so clear we are choosing an outcome we don't want because we refuse to take a risk to follow His ways.

If we do take that risk He will bless us in the long run and we can be confident that our deepest desires are of Him because we are seeking and trusting Him.