Wisdom in the Secret Heart

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Psalm 51:6

I’ve been dealing with a lot of old stuff in counseling.  Stuff that’s been hidden deep inside me for a very long time.  And I’ve been realizing how much I have lied to myself to protect myself from the truth of my past.  I’ve lied to myself to stay safe, but I haven’t been safe.  I am wounded.  And healing can only come in the revelation of the wound and the power of God to heal it in me.

I’ve always looked at the idea of “wisdom in the secret heart” as a deep wisdom, a deep understanding or teaching of God’s Word in my inner being.  And that’s certainly true!  But I’ve been discovering just how deep the Lord is willing to go with me if I’m willing to let Him take me there.   And it’s way deeper than human knowledge can even comprehend.

It’s scary.   It’s so scary that I’m writing this blog post right now and instead of my standard “prayer format”, I’m just putting it out there stream of consciousness style.  I guess the details are fine to stay between me and God.  He is showing me the things that have been there all this time.  The things I’ve lied to myself over for many, many years.  I’d let the enemy convince me that keeping it hidden from my own mind would heal me.

But I’ve relied on myself to heal these wounds for a long, long time.  I even convinced myself that I was trusting God to heal me in the midst of my own suffering.  But God has used it.  He is faithful to teach me wisdom in the secret heart no matter how stubborn I am and no matter how many times I fall for Satan’s tricks.  He is patient with me and quick to forgive.

All this sin that others inflicted on me.  All this sin I inflicted on myself to hide with shame what happened.  All of it has been revealed and washed clean by the blood of the lamb.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 56:10

God is able to clean what has been stained inside of me.  God is able to heal the wounds and restore me.  But restoration can only come once the wounds are revealed.  And the wounds couldn’t be revealed until I was willing to acknowledge them.  I can look back at so many experiences in my life and see how the Lord has been gently trying to show me the way and help me to get there.  And through it all I’ve gone deeper and deeper and deeper as I submitted to His teaching and His love for me.

I’ve confessed and cried out to God.  I’ve offered prayers of repentence and cries for mercy.  And the Lord has heard me.  And He’s taken me deeper.  He’s taken me to the deepest knowledge of my broken spirit and my broken heart.

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:16-17

But it wasn’t until I gave up everything–and I’m still in the midst of giving it all up–that I’ve realized the truth of this wisdom in the secret heart.  This wisdom of deep repentence, not regret, not fear, but deep and profound repentence for all the years of hiding it I’ve tried to sustain.  It was never hidden from God.  And His love for me remained.  When people stole my innocence and scarred my soul, the Lord was there, and He wanted to heal me.  As He wept for my injury, and wept for my abusers, and wept for the damage it did to all of us, He remembered the cross of Calvary and offered it to me.

And only now have I finally recieved the start of that wisdom from the secret heart.  That wisdom that brings confession, repentence, forgiveness, and restoration.  There is profound peace in that.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
 and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:12-15

Your Love Endures Forever

God, I have a really hard time understanding why people refuse to believe in Your love for them.  They refuse to follow You or trust You or listen to You, though You make yourself known so clearly!  Either that, or they’re quick to acknowledge you with their lips, but fail to acknowledge You in their hearts.  I don’t understand it, God, until I take a long look at myself and discover with horror that I do the same thing.

I want to believe in Your love for me, Jesus, but how quickly I fall into the trap of believing the lies of the enemy about You and me and our relationship.  I do something beautiful and I beam with pride in my own accomplishment, without taking the time to give credit to the one who was in charge of it all to begin with.  I want people to acknowledge my good deeds and praise my efforts, instead of pointing people to You, the author and perfecter of my faith and theirs.

I want to recognize Your authority in everything, God.  Not just when I need You, or not just when I’m thinking of You, but all the time.  I know that You forgive me. And I know that You love me. But my love and obedience are so frail, Lord.  I get caught up in the hype of my own reflection in the mirror. Increase my faith in You God and what You want to do through me.

I know that loving myself is important.  You made me. You love me. I should love me.  Everything that You make is worth loving. But I need to love myself out of a desire to show my love to You, not in order to lift myself up as worthy on my own merit.  I am beautiful because You call me beautiful. I am lovable because You have called me lovable.

So, I’m not going to beat myself up for the times I have failed You and I’m not going to cry over mistakes I have made in the past.  Instead, I will continue to ask You to help me point to You more, and seek Your honor above my own more. I will continue to try, Lord, knowing that my efforts are not in vain because You will help me.  You will patiently teach me and guide me. And I will try to trust and obey.

I won’t live in condemnation, but instead lift up Your righteousness and forgiveness.  I will recognize Your authority over me and praise You for blessing the works of my hands, so that Your name will be glorified.  

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
4 to him who alone does great wonders,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;|
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew[a] Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
17 to him who struck down great kings,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.

 

The Bow of Bronze

“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but YAHWEH was my support.”
Psalm 18:18

Lord, I feel kicked when I’m down a lot.  My troubles seem to stand up and mock me every time I turn around.  And no sooner than I overcome one obstacle, another rises up to take its place: bigger and stronger and crueler than the last.  But You truly are my only support. You alone are my rock and my fortress. You alone are my salvation.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
   my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
   and I am saved from my enemies.
Psalm 18:1-3

Thank you, God, that when I am beaten, you lift up my head.  You comfort me and strengthen me. This battle training builds me up for the war to come.  The armies of Satan are an endless stream of terror and rage, but You truly are my strong tower.  

The battles will come.  I will grow weary. I will get caught up in fear.  I will have moments when I believe every lie the enemy hurls at me.  But You, YAHWEH, You are my shield in spite of my weakness.

The cords of death encompassed me;
   the torrents of destruction assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me;
   the snares of death confronted me.
Psalm 18:4-5

I’m tethered to this world and the evil that rules it.  I’m tethered by its brokenness and my own. I walk in the mire.  I get tired. I get scared. I get overwhelmed. But You are always present.  You are always there. You hear me. You answer me. No matter what sin ensnares me, You will save me!

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
   to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
   and my cry to him reached his ears.
Psalm 18:6

I know you are training me for what is to come, Holy Father.  You train and refine me. You make me stronger and stronger. All I can do is stand and wait and watch and learn.  All I can do is trust You and what You will do.

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He trains my hands for war,
   so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
Psalm 18:34

Who can bend back a bow of bronze but YOU?  I will trust in Your strength and not my own.  

“For You equipped me with strength for the battle;”
Psalm 18:39

 

Dealing with Offense

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
   Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
   and speaks truth in his heart;
3 who does not slander with his tongue
   and does no evil to his neighbor,
   nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
   but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 who does not put out his money at interest
   and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
Psalm 15

Recently a couple whom my husband and I lovely dearly, and who dearly love us but don’t know us very well, approached us to discuss their concerns over a recent set of back to back crisis that had occurred in our family.  While their intentions were honorable and intended to encourage and help us, they had the opposite effect. And I’ve been hurting over it ever since.

It’s easy to say, “Forgive them.”  And it’s easy to say, “Have mercy.”  And I know that I have tried to have both for them as I’ve contemplated their words and tried to humble myself to receive them.  Yet, my heart was not following the truth in my soul. I felt so much shame and condemnation, though our friends intended neither.  

Why did I feel like that?

After processing our feelings with each other, with God, with my counselor, and with some trusted and close friends, I realized something.  No matter what your intentions are, correction should never come at the cost of injury to another person. As verse four above says, it’s better to take on a hurt yourself, than to hurt someone else.  

Because our friends love us, and because they were concerned for us, and because they didn’t know us well enough to really know what was fully going on with us, they took it upon themselves to discuss the matter with people who they thought might have more insight into our circumstances.  This became the source of my first wound. Talking about the trauma in our family with other people only lead to more supposition on our situation, and offered no actual truth. Unfortunately, because the people they spoke to also didn’t know our situation very well, they were unable to offer a very accurate picture of our hearts.

Talking about the trauma in our family with other people only lead to more supposition on our situation, and offered no actual truth.

My second wound came in the translation further inaccurate suppositions.  Our friends, likely became more and more concerned for us as they spoke to more and more people who had witness glimpses of our recent trials, and perhaps glimpses of our past actions, and then drew conclusions about us regarding those glimpses.  Again, honest love and concern, led to an inaccurate transcript of all that had transpired. So, when our friends met with us, they had already established in their own hearts a general idea that there were certain issues and were then seeking to help us draw out those issues in confession and repentance.

This was a bad idea.  

They had formed an agenda based on love and concern, that had been built upon conjecture.  

Therefore, while their intentions were honorable, their method had been so tainted by poor information that they were unable to approach the situation with us in a way that truly expressed the love that they have in their hearts for us, and the genuine desire they had to help us walk through correcting bad behaviors.

I was captured this morning by Psalm 15.  It’s all about abiding with God and what dwelling with the Holy One looks like.  And David spells out what that looks like. It is walking blamelessly, doing what is right, speaking truth in his heart, not slandering, not doing evil to his neighbor, not taking up reproach against a friend, who despises evil, honors those who fear the LORD, who takes on hurt himself rather than hurt another, who doesn’t put out money with interest, or take a bribe against the innocent.  But, the fact remains that we can do none of those things on our own. Only with the Holy Spirit of God, the Salvation of the Hand of God through Jesus, by the power of God the Father, can we even begin to mirror these things. Sure, we can try. But if we start to source our thoughts and actions on the opinions of others, we head down a road that leads to nothing but hurt, and the ramifications of that can be devastating.

I was devastated by the encounter we had with our friends, even though I know that was never, ever their intent.  

But because they had come by their information about the situation from others and not from us and from God, it was doomed from the start.  Fortunately, our Lord is a reconciling God. He is a God of healing, love, and restoration. So, even through the pain of that conversation and the subsequent days that followed, my husband and I began to find peace.  

We gained a deeper insight into how to walk the path of “speaking the truth in love” with a much deeper understanding of what that should look like.  I learned that how I source information is vital to reconciling a situation. My source must be the Lord and the people directly involved alone, not the opinion of friends or family, or even my own!  

I also learned that without a personal experience in a situation or deep relationship with someone, I’m not capable of bringing specific instruction or correction to a situation without first talking to the people involved.  Our friends sought advice from too many people before they spoke to us, and unfortunately that skewed the entire outcome. Am I saying we shouldn’t take counsel from trusted friends in the faith who have wisdom and experience?  Of course not! But, counsel must be sourced from the Word of God, and not the opinions of the people who have witnessed the incident. When our friends sought counsel, it should have been about how to approach the situation, not about the situation itself.  

How many times have I fallen into gossip by seeking counsel from someone I trusted and then falling into the trap of the enemy to start basing my opinions on a person without knowing all the facts?  How many times have I spoken to someone just to express my frustration or concern, when I should have just given it to God, or spoken directly with the person that offended me?

I’ve also been humbled, which I am in constant need of learning.  I’ve gained practice in patience and endurance when I’m misunderstood.  And I’ve learned that how others see me and interpret my actions is usually wrong, so I better be as “above board” as I can about my intentions, my actions, and my complete dependency upon God and not myself (or others.)  And that even when I think I’m right, I could actually be wrong.  Shocker!  I need to be humble enough to let the Lord show me things, without beating myself up or walking in shame or condemnation.  And if I start to feel shamed or condemned by another person, I need to speak up, instead of silently suffer.  Once I go there, I’ve lost touch with the Spirit of the Lord within me because of my hurt.

Most importantly, I’ve gotten the sharp reminder from the Lord, that my value cannot be measured on a man’s scale.  I’ve always tried to honor the Lord in my actions, and raised Him up when I’ve been called to account for myself, but I’ve also made excuses for bad behavior.  And I’ve allowed my heart to be swayed by pride, insecurity, and a desire to be accepted.  Of course I should always lift up the Lord.  I should always testify to His power at work in my weakness.  I just need to make sure that when I do that I am speaking from my weakness and not my pride.

I am accepted by God.  That’s all that matters. So, I will try to speak the truth to others with more love than I have in the past by trying to source my love from the Spirit of the Living God within me, rather than from any power of my own.  And I will try to receive the truth spoken to me in love, even if it is poorly executed, by sourcing my translation of those words through the filter of the Holy Spirit instead of my feelings.

Man, Daddy, that’s some deep stuff.  Thanks for helping me figure it out. I love you, Holy Spirit, for giving me peace.  And Jesus, you are my greatest delight. Because of You, I can do all things through You.  Even deal with hurt feelings. I feel much better, now, God. Thank you.

 

Trust

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

I am having a hard time processing things, God.  It’s been brought to my attention that I’ve not had humility in regard to all that has happened over the last few weeks.  Lord, my heart is to lift You up. My heart is to acknowledge your sovereignty amidst the trials and tribulations of this world.  You said to us that in this world we would have trouble. And Lord, we have had our share of trouble. But is it trouble to magnify your name when my world is collapsing around me?  Is it trouble to focus on your redemptive power and your reconciling love when I’m being tossed to and fro by the seas of chaos that dominate this world?

Jesus, my friend, I’m struggling with all of this.  I’ve been told I need to repent, that I need to reflect on how I let this all happen.  I’ve been told that there must be holes in our defenses that allowed this attack to happen.  

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
   you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
   behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
Psalm 139:1-4

So, how did this happen God?  I know that I haven’t been a perfect parent, God.  I’ve made mistakes. I’ve set a poor example at times.  But, Lord, when all of this happened, when the world was a tumult of accusations and insults from the enemy, I saw Your glorious hand at work.  I saw your mighty arm stretched out over me as a shield. I saw the real result of my parenting in my children. Not in their failures, Father, but in their victory through You.  

Lord, I just want to lift up your name.  I want to show the world that you are faithful even when we are faithless.

if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:13

But Lord, was I faithless?  Lord, you came in my weakness!  Shouldn’t that be what I lift up to the world?  Lord, was my weakness a failure? Have I been lying to myself to think that I did nothing wrong?  Is it a lie to acknowledge to myself and to others that you are at work even though I’m not perfect?  Am I supposed to pick apart and second guess my parenting because this all has happened? I don’t know, God.

I will continue to read and follow Your Word.  I will continue to work through my issues in Christian counseling to set my eyes on You and what you are doing, instead of on my failures.  I will continue to confess and reach out for help from my community of Christian friends when I need help. I don’t know that there’s anything more I can do or should do.  I know you hear me, God. And I know your plans for me are good. I will trust you.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
   to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
   and my cry to him reached his ears.
Psalm 18:6

I will trust You, God.  You have heard me and Your plans for me are good.  I will trust You.

Regarding Psalm 5

“O Lord, in the morning You hear my voice.”
Psalms 5:3

Lord, you hear my prayers.  When I call to you, you are quick to answer.  You have made yourself known to me and I am yours.  I love you, Jesus. You provide comfort when I am weak and tired and afraid.  I cry a lot to you, God, because I know that you hear me and that You never grow weary of hearing what I have to say.  

I get bogged down in the trials and tribulations of life sometimes.  It seems like all around me the same groanings. The world is in a turmoil of sin and death and wickedness and everyone is suffering the same horrible fate.  Death stalks us and longs to consume us, and your little ones are not immune. The innocent still suffer. The righteous still get hunted. I am maligned by my own thoughts.  Even alone in my room I am confronted with it. Death and sin are dauntless enemies.

But you have conquered sin and death.

57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

I will lean on your Holy Word. I will trust in your promises.  I will wait on your deliverance and trust in your counsel. You protect me from the dangers of the world, even when I am overcome.  You turn what the enemy intended to harm me into good lessons, into teachable moments, into patient endurance. One day the evil of this world will be destroyed forever.  Until then I can trust you to use it for my good.

For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
   you cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalms 5:12

I recognize and reiterate your promises, God.  You will bless the righteous with favor and cover them with a shield.  And I am your righteousness. I will not be afraid. I am yours.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

 

The Full Fruit of Your Living Tree

There is so much in my heart, God.  So much longing, so much need. In the depth of my heart you hear me.  You hear my tiny voice and rejoice over me with singing. You prepare a place for me.  You lead me and hold me up. You keep me from drowning. You dry my tears. You release me from my shame and from my sorrow.  

I know your justice will come quickly.  Once it starts it will be quick. Your justice will come and our hearts will be glad.  We will rejoice forever with you. We will never cry again. We will sing songs and be glad.  We will dance. We will laugh. We will rejoice in the eternal glory of your presence and your love.  

No more will there be suffering or pain.  

No more will there be betrayal or heartache or weariness.  Those days will pass away and be forgotten. Your justice will be swift and complete.  How sad for those who don’t know you. How sad for those who will feel the brunt of your wrath because they chose to stand with the false idols.  

You have made your glory and your salvation known.  

But the people reject you for their own gain. They reject you for money, power, and fame.  The fabricate glory and honor from the work of their own hands, and fail to see the majesty of your creation.  They can’t see what you have given them and created for them. They have blinded themselves to your love because of their own desire and lust.

Lord, how free I feel to know that your love is even bigger than my own.  How happy I am to know that when I looked beyond myself and my own desire for love and acceptance, I found deeper love and acceptance than I could have ever known apart from you!  You offer to all people the things we long for most and yet the enemy has convinced the world that joy can come from their own power. But your joy is so much better!

Bring wisdom to your people, God.  

Show the world your deep and powerful love through your redeemed children.  Help the world to see that if they can look beyond themselves they can find and receive a love and mercy and peace that they could never know apart from you.  Whatever they have found on their own is nothing compared to what you offer. Let them see that, God.

Let them know the full fruit of your living tree.

Bring life to the nations, God.
Thank you for Jesus.
Make him known!

 

 

From Strength to Strength

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

God, it’s been a rough week, but you have “upheld me with your righteous right hand”. It’s true, every moment felt worse than the last. The onslaught of the enemy was vicious. It was cruel. It was painful. It seemed to go on forever. Yet through it all, you were there. Your enduring and steadfast love was a triumphant sound that shook the heavens. Your banner over me was love, and your peace washed over me time and time again.  

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:1-5

For a long time I’ve known that suffering produces endurance, then character, then hope, but God I really never had a grasp on how it could possibly make me happy, or how I could “rejoice in my suffering”.  Sure, I knew that I should rejoice, but actual rejoicing was a real struggling. I don’t like hurting. I don’t like suffering. I’m not a masochist! Why on earth would I want to suffer?! But I couldn’t reconcile that with how Jesus suffered, or how he willingly went to the cross, allowed himself to be tortured and mocked, and then murdered.  I knew it was because of love, but I couldn’t figure out the joy part. There’s joy in the resurrection, not the suffering, right?

Wrong.

There is joy in both.  One leads to the other.  

 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
   I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.”
Isaiah 48:10

It all hit me this week.  It hit me so hard, it would have knocked me down if I hadn’t been held up by your righteous right hand.  This furnace of affliction was no different than the literal furnace of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo. It was terrifying, but you stood with them, and you stand with me.  Through it all you were there, and you are here now. Amidst all this incredible trial, suffering, and pain, I watched the springs of living water burst forth out of the desert.  Every time I’d falter, you’d raise me up again. Your strength would fill me. Your endurance sustained me. Your joy sprang forth! Your love permeated my steps, and all around me people were blessed.  The peace and strength and joy you gave me to endure, blessed everyone who witnessed it! Everyone! And that brought so much joy.

I remember collapsing onto my bed after so many hours with my daughter in the hospital, and the people who came around me to be with her so I could go home and sleep.  Instead of sorrow, I was filled with joy. You provided and sustained me. And you provided peace and rest. I fell asleep speaking your praises. Your presence filled my vision and my heart.  Your love endured. And as the days went on, and I traveled back and forth to the hospital day after day, you continued to provide: not just for me, but for everyone around us. And you’re doing it still.  Your strength refreshes daily within me.

And so I will go from strength to strength, trusting in your provision of steadfast love, and the strength you provide.  I will rejoice and be glad, because your strength always renews.  And that strength brings rivers of living water to everyone who sees it.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
   in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca
   they make it a place of springs;
   the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
   each one appears before God in Zion.
Psalms 84:5-7

 

Tears in a Bottle

“You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in a bottle,
Are they not in your books?”
Psalm 56:8

God, I feel like I’m walking through mud.  I’m stuck in all this struggle and I’m overwhelmed and frustrated and sad.  It’s so hard to pick up my feet and take another step. I know you are with me.  I know you care for me. I know I can cast my burdens upon you and be sustained by you, but I’m struggling.  The attack from the enemy is so strong. It is relentless. It is consuming. It’s hard, God.

“My heart is in anguish within me;
   the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fear and trembling come upon me,
   and horror overwhelms me.”
Psalm 55:4-5

In the onslaught I struggle to hear you.  In the tumult my heart is aching. My eyes are blinded by tears and anger and futility.  I wallow in it. I don’t know why I do, but my heart truly is in anguish within me. I can’t turn around without hearing the taunts of the enemy.  My fear holds me hostage. My anguish paralyzes me.

“But I call to God,
   and the Lord will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon
   I utter my complaint and moan,
   and he hears my voice.
18 He redeems my soul in safety
   from the battle that I wage,
   for many are arrayed against me.”
Psalm 55:16-18

You hear me, God, when I call out to you.  You hear me and save me. You long for me to be in peace with you and in my life.  You bring the Prince of Peace to my heart and to my mind. My head rests in your lap and I am comforted.  I am covered by your love and your mercy. You will save me. You have saved me. I am yours. I am saved from the wrath of my own condemnation.  I am saved from the fear of my own failings and doubt. I am free from the lords that once ruled me and molested my heart. I can have peace in your arms.  I can rest in your love.

   “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
   This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
   let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9