Friday, May 27, 2005

The things to which we are called....

Lord God,
you have called your servants
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love is supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(from the Lutheran Book of Worship, Morning Prayer)

Raise up His name on high
Raise up you people of His pride
Raise up and bare the fire that's in our eyes,
And in our lives, and shows that we are not afraid...
(Caedmon's Call, Covenant Song, from the
City on a Hill CD)

If there are four words I'd like to be able to speak about myself right now, it would be "we are not afraid."

Three or four times this week, I have found myself completely paralyzed by fear. And the only thing I hated more than being afraid was admitting that I was afraid. Afraid for my life and health, afraid of the consequences that my past decisions are having on my present and future - hell, just being afraid of being afraid. And when I get into these kinds of funks, I'm rarely in a frame of mind that says, "Hey, if I just pray about this, it will get better!"

That's why I'm sure that it was no coincidence that as I was looking for something completely different, I found the LBW morning prayer at the exact moment that the Caedmon's Call Covenant Song was playing. The two appearing simultaneously was a hint that even a clue-resistant guy like me could latch onto...

And then I reflected back on a quote from Max Lucado's website, emailed to me by fellow blogger Deanne earlier today:

We will find grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

God isn't going to let you see the distant scene.... so you might as well quit looking for it. He promises a lamp unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future. We do not need to know what will happen tomorrow. We only need to know he leads us and "we will find grace to help us when we need it."

So I pray, on this Friday morning of a long weekend, for the willingness to pray the prayers I'm afraid of, and to trudge on - even if I don't see the "ventures of which we cannot see the ending, the paths as yet untrodden, or the perils unknown."
Lord, either "make it so" or make me so. Amen.


Monk-in-Training said...

I join with you on your journey.

Lord, give us strenght and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Michael Dodd said...

Since we were just thinking about Thomas Merton, I thought this prayer of his apropos:

Dear God:
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following
your will does not mean I am actually doing so.
But I believe this.
I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
I hope I have that desire in everything that I do.
I hope I never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it at the time.
Therefore, I will trust you always
for though I may seem to be lost, and
In the shadow of death, I will not be afraid, because I know you will never leave me to face my troubles all alone.


I love Merton's assertion that the desire to please God pleases God, because sometimes I can get so tangled up, I would be paralyzed if it all depended on me being absolutely certain that this and no other thing is what God wills. I don't envy those who appear to have that kind of certainty, though, because it tends to be certainty about things that I suspect God pays litte heed. And the God in whom I believe and trust is not playing games with me, trying to trip me up.

Anonymous said...

"And when I get into these kinds of funks, I'm rarely in a frame of mind that says, 'Hey, if I just pray about this, it will get better!'"

I can really identify with that, and about a month ago I read something that caused me to take a good, hard look at my own tendancies: "When confronted with the choice of a) surrendering my circumstance to Christ, or b) being completely miserable... I'll consistently, yes, without fail, choose misery." That simple observation really got my attention, and in reading it I realized that it really is just that easy...all I/we need to do is surrender the circumstance to Christ. But if it's so easy, why is it often so difficult?

"I love Merton's assertion that the desire to please God pleases God." Damien - me, too!

TN Rambler said...

Steve and Damien,
As a desperate lay speaker preparing a sermon for June 5th (yes, I get desperate far earlier than most) based on the call of Abram in Gen 12: 1-9 to "Go...and I will bless that you will be a blessing", your postings today have been a blessing.

I join you in the journey, the journey of following Christ without fear. Not knowing where we are being led, but knowing that if we open ourselves to the possibilities that are before us that we will be blessed and that we will be a blessing.

God speed.

ScottB said...

Amen indeed.

Peter said...

Held in prayer, man.

Anonymous said...

The opposite of fear is trust. There are many uncertainties in my future and I have difficulty trusting God that everything will be all right. I, too, want to be willing to pray the prayers I'm afraid of!