What do you do when there seems to be nowhere to go with the pressure you’re under? When you’ve tried to be patient for so long and are past hope? Well, we have models to look at and a Resource that matters.
Let me share an excerpt from our devotional Still Life that may help. Your circumstances may be different, but the principles still apply. God’s Inbox Often in the Scriptures, we see people cry out for God to answer their prayers–prayers of deliverance, rescue, supply, or healing. The psalmist here is no different. He is plagued by enemies and offers his plea to the One he knows can help. “O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:1-2, 10 NIV). We often do this same thing today. Wise ones who put their trust in the living God ask, even plead, for God to respond to their pressing need. But, what’s noteworthy here is the position the psalmist takes. He say, “Help me, have mercy, but I don’t deserve it. I can’t earn this.” He acknowledges it’s in accordance with God’s character that he hopes–God’s righteousness and God’s faithfulness. Do we start there? Am I humble before Him, or do I demand and whine? “Therefore, my spirit is overwhelmed within me. For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he had made me dwell in dark places…” (v. 3) While listening to an acquaintance tell me about her ongoing pressure at work, I couldn’t help but notice underlying her complaint was an assumption: if God would remove them, their unfair tactics aimed at me, or better yet, miraculously whisk me away, life would be perfect. Really? I heard her pain. I saw the weariness of trying to deal with a
negative environment day after discouraging day. I could relate because of similar experiences, but I’ve seen one thing so far, it’s how sovereign God is big enough to use these times for our good if we wait and lean into Him. I don’t have to like what’s happening, but I can remember He’s with me and knows all about it. After the writer of this psalm lays out his problem before God, he declares that he wants to be taught by Him. He’s teachable. I don’t think I admit this accompanying need enough when I’m in distress. I want to be rid of my “enemy,” the source of my frustration, or the system I feel abused by. “Just fix it, God. I’m fine–it’s them.” Better still, how about letting my Lord teach me right where I’m at, before He changes anyone else, or perhaps chooses not to. I have His “good Spirit” to lead me. I have what I need already, and it’s important for me to do His will, even in uncomfortable circumstances. This is my level ground.
Also, my prayers are important. They unburden my soul as I lift my concerns from my shoulders and place them onto God’s. I sometimes picture gathering up all the parts of the problem and putting the stack into Jesus’ inbox–where it belongs. Just that act gives me peace and assurance He’ll attend to it. Consequently, I can tell after I’ve given all that’s troubling me into His repository, He places His peace in the void that’s left. And with that, I have room to hear His steadying instructions about how to follow Him in that difficult place. His faithfulness, His righteousness “brings my soul out of trouble,” because in humility and hope, “I am your servant” (vv. 11-12). Stuff His Inbox Lord, I’m so glad Your inbox is never too full. You don’t get those pesky reminders to delete anyone’s messages because You’re at capacity. Thank You that any request matters, any time day or night, especially night when my brain wakes me up with alarm. Your presence and Your Word teaches me to trust and quiets me. You’ve said we’ll have enemies, but You’ve also told us that’s not unusual as we follow You. In Your faithfulness hear my plea, and remember mercy, O my Lord. Amen. Secure and Strengthened
“O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a weary land, a weary land; O , Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a Shelter in a time of storm. A Shade by day, Defense by night, no fears alarm, no foes afright, O Rock Divine, O Refuge dear, be Thou our Helper ever near.”