Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Such a strange emotion has filled my being.  It feels like the peace that comes either right before the storm or right before the miracle.  The calm is no doubt from countless people praying as well as from a surrendered (but still broken) heart. I pick at my cuticles and wonder which way this thing is going to fall.  Will God intervene and take away the cancer or will Asher never remember his Papa? I feel the clock ticking away, my mind willing it to just slow down. But God is sovereign over the clock.

This feeling reminds me of a book that I borrowed that I have refused to give back because there is one portion that I keep returning to.  It is just too good to paraphrase, so here it is, word for word.  Slow down your brain and soak it in.  Eugene Peterson (in Answering God) takes apart some of the Psalms.  In this one section, he talks about Psalm 4 and 5 and introduces a parallel I had never considered.  He talks about the biological need for sleep and how it is a spiritual surrender as well. He also gives practical instruction on how to face the day when we are awake.  Soak in these words.

"The work of God begins while we are asleep and without our help.  He continues to work through the day in our worship and obedience.  A sacrifice is the material means of assembling a life before God in order to let God work with it.  Sacrifice isn't something we do for God, but simply setting out the stuff of life for him to do something with.  On the altar the sacrificial offering is changed into what is pleasing and acceptable to God.  In the act of offering we give up ownership and control, and watch to see what God will do with it.  With a deep awareness that the God who speaks life into us also listens when we speak, we put into words the difficulties and delights that we foresee in the hours ahead.  We assemble fears and hopes, apprehensions and anticipations, and place them on the altar as an offering: "I prepare a sacrifice, and watch."

Watch is the pivotal work in morning prayer.  A biblically trained ear hears a story in the word.  Jacob, fleeing from his father-in-law, Laban, was caught in Gilead.  Laban thought he had been defrauded by Jacob; Jacob was sure he had been gypped by Laban.  In Gilead, through argument and prayer, they came to an agreement.  They set up an altar pillar and ate a covenantal meal before it.  They named the pillar, "Watching Place" (Mizpah.)  They had spent twenty years watching each other suspiciously, watching for opportunities to take advantage of each other.  Here they agreed to quit watching each other and let God watch them.  Early in the morning the two old antagonists parted--Laban returning to Haran and Jacob entering Canaan where he still had to face the enmity of his brother Esau--with their morning prayer echoing across the Gilead hills:  "The Lord watch between you and me, while we are absent one from the other."  Leaving the place of morning prayer and watching, the first things Jacob saw were the angels of God.  He exclaimed:  "This is God's army!" (Genesis 31.)

Mizpah is a borderline experience repeated as often as every morning.  We watch to see what God will do with the assemblage of hopes and fears we set before him.  Morning prayer places us before the watchful God and readies us to enter the day watchful, watching our dangerous past recede, watching the dangerous day fill with God's angels."

I can only speak for myself because we are all handling this tragic situation differently.  For me, I am in this state of mizpah.  Every morning, I surrender and proclaim that I will watch and see what God does with this. It is totally out of my hands and there is simply nothing I can do to manipulate or change the situation.  If I confess I serve a good God, then the best act of faith I can come up with is to step back and watch Him matter what that plan looks like.

I love the part that says we "watch to see what God will do with the assemblage of hope and fears we set before him."  How delighted He must be that we bring our whole selves to Him. His heart must be pricked with tenderness when we entrust the deepest parts of our souls into His care.

In some way or another, we are all waiting on something from the Lord.  Enter into your "watching place" and choose to see what God is doing.  He is always working on the behalf of his children.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Debbie E.