“Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the hand of Omnipotence.” Charles H. Spurgeon
This is a season of enormous personal change for me. Very soon I will have an empty nest. All of my children are experiencing huge changes in their lives; one couple has moved, the other couple is moving (and taking our new and only granddaughter with them), and our third son is getting married in a month. The marriage is a blessing as we already love our newest daughter-in-law.
God is also blessing the ministry in incredible ways. We have expanded to a second office location and there is excitement and honestly, a little fear. God has brought so many wonderful, generous, and gifted people to help the process of moving into the office become a reality. I am grateful that so many servants of the Most High God are deeply invested in our ministry of soul-care.
By Gods grace, we are helping more people than ever before through our biblical counseling center. The needs are so great…the heartaches go so deep…the people of God are in troubled marriages, families, and so many have personal trials for which they are seeking help, healing, and hope. We are also expanding our reach into ministering to those who have problems with substance abuse.
Like everyone else, my husband and I have the daily burdens of living in a fallen world. Aging, the changes that come along with aging, minor health problems, unexpected and costly car repairs that never seem to end, and always in the back of my mind are thoughts of my elderly dad whose health is failing. I know he most likely won’t be here much longer.
The next six weeks hold many activities; some joyful and some hard. I find the stress is very high and it is affecting me in distressing ways. When you think of yourself as a capable person who can handle many things, experiencing emotional backlash in the form of anxiety and mild panic attacks is troublesome indeed. My sleep is disturbed by dreams that include running and being chased and I’ve been waking up as tired as when I lay my head on the pillow and closed my eyes the night before.
There are times I think about just running to a place where there are no troubles. Of course, that place does not exist. I suspect it is what we all think about when life’s problems or challenges come at us like a flood.
My biblical counselor training tells me there’s obviously something amiss. I know there’s something wrong; I counsel people with these issues! As I flip through the catalog of knowledge I possess about how to deal with stress, I’m checking off the things I know to examine in my life. I quickly realize that my personal prayer life is paralyzed.
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls… Matthew 11:28-29 (NASB)
I’m not sure I’ve been going to my Shepherd for comfort and rest like I usually would. Psalm 23 says He leads me beside the still waters (v.2). The waters in my life are very turbulent right now, and I long for the peace and quiet and the restoration in my soul that He brings.
While I do have prayer as a part of every day life, I can see based on my responses that I am not spending enough time laying the burdens of my heart before the Lord. It seems I am practically paralyzed when it comes to effective prayer on my own behalf. Paralysis in prayer comes when I see I’m not relying on him and pridefully attempt to shoulder too many things on my own. I love how God is not rude and he does not push his way in and order me aside. He waits patiently for me to realize that I have yet again wandered too far from His loving protection and shepherds hook. He has never lost sight of me and has been observing my struggle waiting for my thrashing to end (ref.Psalm 23:4).
My course of action needs to change. I need to run toward my Shepherd, my Savior, my comfort, and find my rest. I must be intentional about ceasing the frenetic scrambling and bathe myself in the still waters of prayer. Psalm 23 says He makes me lie down in green pastures and restores my soul. Oh, how I need both of those things! The glorious thing is I don’t need to steal away to a cabin or a resort to be in the still waters or lie down in green pastures. My Comfort is with me everywhere I go. He is my Strong Tower (Proverbs 18:10) therefore, I can cast my cares upon Him. I can unburden my heavy, weary soul (Philippians 4:6-7). I can bring to Him the things I can share with no one else.
It is amazing how quickly relief comes when I have once again returned to the Shepherd and overseer of my soul. The comfort and embrace of my Lord does fill my cup to overflowing. The Lord is gracious and merciful his praise will always be on my lips (Psalm 34:1).