While we were sharing with each other, I was explaining what my spiritual life felt like right now.
The image I had was me, connected to a life line - a good strong life line, securely attached to the line - but nothing else. And here I am hanging in this dense fog. I don't know what's around me. I don't know if there is a wall or a building near by. I have no idea how far off the ground I am. I just know that I can feel myself being blown around by the winds of circumstance, by fear, misinformation, whatever. Sometimes I'm just spinning uncontrollably. And I know I'm connected to the life line. But everything else just seems so out of control.
Tonight was community night in our house. My roommate has been teaching us about the Apostolic prayers. Tonight we read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13.
9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Suddenly, reading this the fog cleared for a moment, and I realized I've been hovering above the solid rock for who knows how long. It's not the life line I need to cling to... It's the Rock.
Ok, I know you might be confused at this point. Why is this prayer so profound, sweeping away my fog and confusion? Well, without the context of my fog it's difficult to understand.
If you've been reading long enough, you know that there is this band. Not just any band, a band I love. It's a street band that I met 6 years ago. And I firmly believe that one of my callings/responsibilities is for this band and the people who gather around it.
For half a year now the band has been taking a break from it's weekly performances. There has been a drop in the number of fans recently, and so they thought they would spend some time trying to improve their music. At first they were thinking about one month off and then come back. But that has gradually lengthened to a full 6 months.
There are many dynamics involved between the three members, but this weekend I started getting the feeling that maybe they wouldn't be coming back.
And I panicked. Begin crazy swinging/spinning on my life line.
In my fear, I thought of how much time and prayer and love I have put into these people. I thought of how much I want them in my life, how much I want to see them. And I came to the conclusion that I must not be enough. I'm not enough to keep them here. I'm not enough to call them back. I'm not enough to teach them about God.
That's all. There's nothing more I can do. Maybe all this time was really wasted. Maybe I didn't love the right way. I didn't use my time well enough. I didn't pray enough. I allowed myself to become too distracted and focused too much on myself. And I lost them.
I cried out to God, "teach me how to pray. What can I do for these people I love? You love them right? I know you must! What is Your will for them? What will become of this treasure that I love so much?"
And so in the midst of all this spinning and swinging and praying and crying... God answered.
9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?
Oh yeah. That's right. These are the people who gave me joy in the presence of God. Have I been thankful for them lately? Nope, too afraid of loosing them to be thankful. Just stop a moment, Amber, and Remember. Remember the joy. Remember the presence of God. And be Thankful, not fearful.
10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
Hey, I've been praying all kinds of things, questions, second guessing God, blaming myself, feeling miserable. I totally forgot to pray for the chance to see them again. And more than that, a chance to supply what is lacking in their faith. Maybe I haven't done a great job to this point, but there is still so much to give them. This is a good prayer....
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.
Yes, rather than relying on my own scheming, my Father should be the one to clear the way for me to come to them. I suddenly feel a little less motion sick. Hey, my spinning is starting to slow down!
12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
I remember how I fell in love with their love for each other. When was the last time I marveled in their love? Have I EVER prayed for their love to increase, overflow? How wonderful that would be! Hey look! That looks suspiciously like the ground below me!
13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Of course. This is it. This is my true purpose, right? I want them to be blameless and holy before God. I want to share my eternity with these people. When was the last time I prayed for their hearts? When was the last time I desired their salvation?
I think I just landed hard on the Rock. I think that's gonna leave a bruise. But bruises will help me to Remember. And a bruise is nothing compared to the hole in heaven where the people I love might not be.
Ah. It's good to be on the Rock.
And now it's time for me to get on my knees... (well, I would if I didn't have a broken foot...)
I've missed my Rock. God is gracious.
I feel like maybe my heart has done just a little bit of healing tonight. And at least the motion sickness has stopped for now.