Sunday, July 05, 2015

A Prayer for Protection

1 Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer!
2 In despair and far from home
I call to you!
Take me to a safe refuge,
3 for you are my protector,
my strong defense against my enemies.
4 Let me live in your sanctuary all my life;
let me find safety under your wings.
5 You have heard my promises, O God,
and you have given me what belongs to those who honor you.
6 Add many years to the king's life;
let him live on and on!
7 May he rule forever in your presence, O God;
protect him with your constant love and faithfulness.
8 So I will always sing praises to you,
as I offer you daily what I have promised.
Psalm 91 (GNTD)

This was the focus of this morning's sermon in church.  It's thought that this was written by David while he was on the run, seeking to keep distance between himself and his son Absalom, lest Absalom kill David or David be forced to kill Absalom.  (Absalom was seeking to dethrone David.) It wasn't the point of the sermon, but it occurred to me that David spent a lot of his life running.

Before it had been King Saul who wished to kill him to prevent him from succeeding him on the throne and now his own son had him on the run.

He actually lived 70 years, ruled for 40 and had 8 wives.  But he also spent a lot of time on the run.  It doesn't seem like it when you just quickly read the Bible, but to think of it playing out in real time, that was a lot of time spent living in caves.

So I guess the point is that sometimes it feels like it's difficult to be hopeful, or that at some point one is too old to reinvent themselves or try something new, but really, on average, people have a lot of live available to them.  Too often trying to live a day at a time, or live short to short goals, you put your head down and forget andwhen you pick it up, you're left wondering where the time has gone.

The intended message, something else entirely, was also good - it was about times when God feels far away or when you're struggling.  Confirming a trust in God, but at the same time, pleading for relief. Recognizing God's provision in terms of refuge and sanctuary (a place of safety) as well as a strong defense (a place from which to attack) and a reminder that He's always with us, no matter how things seem to be going.

It was interesting because it was one of those "warning" type sermons - those reminders that we will face trials and they can strain our faith.  I felt myself sitting there thinking that I've seen enough that my faith can't be shaken.  We've had trials, most of them we've seen the other side.  But what we face now (I was thinking mostly of the continued horrid sleep but I guess could also apply to what we're dealing with with our children, especially Ben) doesn't even seem like a trial.  More of just a dull wearing. Not Jobsian by any stretch, but just a constant dull torture for unknown reasons (especially the sleep part).

So I feel like my response to trials has simply become "Ok, here we go again." or "Boy, this sucks."  I don't mean I have this solid faith where I have no questions or no doubts, but as we load up to head to the ER the fear is gone.  I still struggle mightily and repeatedly with the sins of things I do not want to do and yet do and that which I ought to do but do not do.  But I guess what I have is a confidence that God is with me no matter what.

The pastor also talked about not appreciating things until we didn't have them (like electricity) but this is an area that I've worked on (or has been impressed upon me) over the past decade or so - being grateful before it's gone.  I think it has become a habit and it's definitely a good one to have in your aresenal.

So what I've been focusing on lately is something from a previous sermon, the idea of not just serving, but serving joyfully.  My response is that I could certainly serve more joyfully if I'd be allowed to get a good night's sleep.  I've been a grumpy crank now for way too long and it would be nice to see if that goes away with decent sleep or if there's some other issue I need to address.

I know this has been a bit rambly. But I'll possibly chalk it up to poor sleep.  But I think there are a few truths:

- There's lots of opportunity in life as long as we're looking for it, making it, seizing it.
- We are not promised a life without trials.
- God is always with us and will provide strength and comfort in the trials.
- A life of practiced thankfulness is a much more enjoyable life.