Sunday, September 17, 2006

Answer to Prayer

For those who haven't already heard, I wanted share briefly about a wonderful answer to prayer that I received on Wednesday. I start a new job tomorrow, an office position in Burlington. Very providentially, my new employer was willing to accomodate the class I am taking Tuesday and Thursday morning so I will be working the equivalent of four days a week over five week days. I view this as a blessing from God. I know a number of people were praying for me to find employment as I recently moved out on my own and definitely needed work soon. Now I need grace and confidence as I start the position, but I know I will be given what I need.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Psalm 139 (New International Version)
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Last Sunday morning, exhausted after several nights of poor sleep, worried about my mental state, and stressed out by the move and all the other change in my life, I sat and read this psalm and each word had special significance. I wept, but I felt comforted and I knew this psalm that David had written centuries before was God's word for me for right now. I was given this psalm during a recent time of prayer ministry and it was also a text referred to by an article about confidence and faith vs. self-doubt and fear that spoke directly into my situation. I wasn't at church, but that article was like a sermon written for me. That God knows me intimately, yet loves me is an astounding thought. Sometimes I don't love myself, but God loves me enough to send his Son to die for me. He knows all my negative, anxious, and fearful thoughts, yet he gives me the gift of faith and the ability to make a conscious choice to believe him and his promises. He is there to guide me and his hand is upon me and he is directing my steps. He knows what I will say next and what I am thinking at every moment.

I am not an accident of biology and chance, I am a deliberate creation of a loving God who planned my life before I was ever conceived, who saw me in my mother's womb when she was jumping down sandhills, who, in fact, chose me before the creation of the world to be his child. I asked him if he planned the day I was admitted to the hospital when I could not speak and no longer saw reality, and the nurses seized me and gave me an injection against my will. But I knew that he had been there in the darkness and that he had brought me out of it and had shaped me by it. He wept too and he bore my pain and carried my sorrows and paid for my redemption and healing. To think the God of the universe, the creator of the cosmos, has thoughts of me and cares about the details of my life is hard to wrap my mind around, but it is a truth that I am realizing more and more.

David's interjection about his enemies seems out of place in the psalm and those words did not seem applicable or explicable on that Sunday morning, but his prayer, for God to search him and know his heart, and to test him and know his anxious thoughts, to see if there is any offensive way in him, and to lead him in the way everlasting, became my prayer too.