04 May 2005

Thanks for Stickin' with Me!

I use _A Guide to Prayer for all Who Seek God_ (Upper Room Books, 2003) for my morning devotions, and it suggests approaching prayer with thanksgiving, petition, intercession, praise and offering. Well, as soon as I started this morning's prayer I thought about how I shortchanged God with yesterday's offering. My commitment swiftly went out the door as soon as other aspects of life consumed me. My preference was for the other things and not for God. So I was almost embarrassed to begin today's prayer knowing that in 24 hours I may be approaching God once again with failed obedience to my offering.

The first phrase to leave my mouth, then, was, "Thank you, God, for sticking with me." As soon as I said it, I thought of someone else in my life. She spills the same rhetoric nearly all of the time. One minute she's doing well and is saying how great she is, how blessed she is and how committed she is to doing the right things. Before I know it, though, it's a different person all over again. She's back in the exact same place she was before when she wasn't well, couldn't see her blessings and was consumed by negative energy and actions. This drives me crazy! I am now at the point where I listen and I just don't believe anything she says. I just don't count on it. It would be noble of me to have faith and hope in her good times. The realistic part of me, however, says, "Don't count on it. Don't get caught in this again. She will disappoint you and frustrate you and send you through far too many emotions." So I don't count on it.

So my next phrase in this conversation with God was, "I cannot even conceive how you can listen to my rhetoric each day and be faithful to me. It's unbelievable to me." Here I am caring for someone deeply and not paying attention to her words because they fail me. I want to protect myself. But I approach God with these offerings, and God believes them. Each time. Twenty-four hours later finds me in the same place I was before, and yet God says, "I'll believe you today. And I'll strengthen you to complete this offering."

I don't know where I will be this time tomorrow. I hope I will have been faithful (I'll write about it tomorrow if I have . . . or maybe even if I haven't). But I do know that God will be anxiously awaiting to hear my prayers and my new offerings. God will be looking forward to our conversation and not checking caller ID and avoiding phone calls like I do at times. Knowing this, how can I not admire, adore and aspire to be more like God?

24*

Twenty-four oceans
Twenty-four skies
Twetty-four failures
And Twenty four tries
Twenty-four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
With twenty-four drop outs
At the end of the day
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty-four hours ago

Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And I'm not who I thought I was twenty-four hours ago
Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You

There're twenty-four reasons to admit that I'm wrong
With all my excuses still twenty-four strong

See I'm not copping out, not copping out, not copping out
When You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now

And You're raising these twenty-four voices
With twenty-four hearts
And all of my symphonies
In twenty-four parts
But I want to be one today
Centered and true

I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now
And You're raising the dead in me

I want to see miracles
To see the world change
Wrestled the angel
For more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause

I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And You're raising the dead in me
Twenty-four oceans (Oh, oh, I am the second man)
With twenty-four hearts (Oh, oh, I am the second man now)
With all of my symphonies (Oh, oh, I am the second man now)
In twenty-four parts. (And You're raising the dead in me)
Life is not what I thought it was (Oh, oh, I am the second man)
Twenty-four hours ago (Oh, oh, I am the second man now)
Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms (And You're raising the dead in me)
I'm not copping out. (Oh, oh, I am the second man)
Not copping out. (Oh, oh, I am the second man now)
Not copping out. (Oh, oh, I am the second man now)

*Recorded by Switchfoot

2 comments:

LARouse said...

I love you, Beautiful! God never fails to teach, inspire and encourage me through your offerings. I am amazed at how people, who are lovers of language, can take our frail words and shape something so beautiful. Also, thanks for keeping me honest and real.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughts, so precise, so revealing of who we are. We are always unable to give to others what God gives to us and that is always okay. We always judge others as we would not like for God to judge us, but that's okay because the same God that opens his arms to us when we are unfaithful and disobedient is the same God that opens His arms to others who are the same. And they don't really need us anyway because we cannot save. They need God and the only challenge for us is, "Are we pointing people to God or are we so caught up in our own frustrations and complexities and pieties that we forget?" I forgot once, refused to talk becuase of my frustrations and I never had that problem again because Myrtle killed herself that night.
Keep writing. Your gift is so beautiful.