Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Friday, September 23, 2011

From Despair to Prayer - Part 4

For my 3 day respite, I'd brought 6 books to read in addition to my Bible - always an over achiever!  I wanted to crack them open, but that first day spent laying back in my beach chair I was shocked at how tired I was.  For hours, I floated in and out of consciousness, soaking up the warmth of the sun.  My body and mind needed even more rest than I had thought.  I did open my Bible long enough to read Psalm 42 which begins and ends this way...  "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night...Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

When can I go and meet with God?  Anytime, anywhere.  As I said in the first part of this saga, He had never left...he was waiting for me to come to him and lay down my cares, but I was too angry, frustrated, tired, and full of excuses, to seek his face.  And so my soul was downcast and disturbed.  But like the psalmist, despite the tears and sadness and time apart, my soul still thirsted for God and I knew I had to make my way back.  Once you've met with Him in a personal way, the world is not right when you're apart.  So that day, as I read the Psalm all the way through without interruption or distraction, I once again felt myself longing after what had been missing for weeks...that sweet, powerful time alone with God in communion and prayer.  Finally, I was able to move on the next sentence..."Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

After several hours of cat naps, and reading, and people watching, and just staring at the outgoing tide, I decided to take a walk up the beach.  As I walked and watched the birds, I noticed the sandpipers.  These little skittish birds are funny to observe.
They travel in groups, making quick, sharp movements.  Up the sand they run just ahead of the waves.  Then they turn, and dash toward the water, stopping occasionally to poke their rather long beaks into the beach trying desperately to catch and eat the tiniest of crabs as they burrow back into the sand.  "So many people are just like those sandpipers" I thought.  "Running up and down, back and forth, never seeming to accomplish anything, never stopping to enjoy their surroundings, never breaking from the crowd...just scurrying to and fro on a relentless quest to do enough to survive."  Lately, I'd had a sandpiper mentality and it became very clear just how utterly exhausting it was to exist that way! 

The seagulls were an interesting bunch too.  There was variety in their coloring - some white, some grey, some a combo of the two, some brown, some speckled - and variety in their behavior.  Some seagulls strutted the beach crying in loud, piercing gasps.
Perhaps they were angry at other gulls for stealing their food or maybe they just liked to complain.  Since I don't speak gull very fluently, it was tough to know for sure other than they seemed an unhappy lot.  Then there were the gulls who just stood their ground in the sand.  Let the meal come to them seemed to be their attitude.  Eventually something will wash up and all they'd have to do is reach over and peck a bit to satisfy their hunger.  Others seemed oblivious to all the activity and just tucked their beaks under their feathers and snoozed...I could relate to them today!  Then there were the gulls in the air.  For the most part, they were no different than the sandpipers really.  They circled and dove and fought off other seagulls from the boundaries of their airspace that no one but them could see.  But then there were a few who really held my attention.  They were the ones who spread their wings and kind of hung in the air.  There was a pretty good breeze blowing but they weren't pushed off course.  They faced into the wind and kept aloft, using what some might consider a problem, to their advantage.  They kind of rose above it all...watching, anticipating, facing into the winds of change, not losing momentum.  I wanted to be like them.  Not being busy all over the place, not complaining loudly to anyone who'd listen, not oblivious to everything, hiding from life, or even fighting to hold on to my perceived rights...no, I wanted to soar.  I wanted to have the staying power necessary to face the winds of adversity and use them...not be pushed around by them.  How like God to teach a lesson so simple and clear through His creation.

So how does one achieve that staying power?  Through prayer.  Despair had finally begun to lift...it was time to move fully and completely into a place of prayer.  And that's the story for tomorrow...

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