Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bi-Polar Prayers

Wednesday August 21, 2013

I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word.  My eyes are straining to see your promises come true.  When will you comfort me?  I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees.  How long must I wait?  When will you punish those who persecute me?   These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me.   All your commands are trustworthy.  Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.  They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments.  In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws.    Psalms 119:81 - 88 (NLT)
I’m not saying the Psalmist was actually bi-polar, but how can you not think of that with the roller-coaster ride of Psalm 119:

The Pits

“When?”  “How Long?”  “I’m worn out waiting…”

The Pinnacles

“…I’ve put my hope in your word”  “…I have not forgotten to obey…” 
“All your commands are trustworthy.”
The dichotomy of faith has always intrigued me.  To be confident and assured that God is so good and unfailing in His promises, and yet confess that you’re having a little trouble with your faith – it’s at least confusing….if not schizophrenic.  How can the two extremes exist without exploding your soul?
In Mark (9:14-27) a man whose son was possessed by a demon wanted Jesus to heal him.  Jesus told him, anything is possible if a person believes.  The father answered back, …I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!

Praying in Faith when your faith is Shaky

If there is a key to “faith” it is in recognizing that you don’t possess faith; faith is that which both possesses and sustains you.  You don’t grab faith as if holding on for dear life.  You rest in faith, and it comes alive as God shows up.  It’s like the principle of “floating”; as long as you struggle, you’ll never float.  When you lay-back in what surrounds you, trusting the principle of buoyancy, it happens without your effort.  When you take “you” out of the equation, all that’s left is God.
In the account of the man with the demon-possessed son, he confessed both faith and unbelief.  On a basic level he had placed his faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; on a more prescient, existential level, his son was being torn apart by demons right in front of his eyes.  How could the man not have questions, doubts?  As the saying goes, it’s hard to remember you’ve been sent to drain the swamp when you’re up to your elbows in alligators!  But the man quit his struggling and laid it squarely in Jesus’ hands.

The Principle of Faith

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter of the Bible.  With the exception of 2 of the Psalm’s 176 verses, every verse is about the attributes of God’s Word.  The psalmist (like the father of the demon-possessed boy) confesses over and again his questioning, wavering, faltering faith.  But just as constantly he counters with trust in God’s Word. 
This is the promise of faith, and the activator of strong faith – know and trust by removing “you” from the equation.  Here it is, this principle, in a simple sentence:
Those who love your instructions have great peace
and do not stumble.  Psalms 119:165 (NLT)
Great peace, or Bi-polar fear….these are the choices.  

A suggestion for today:  trust, rest in His Word, and float in His perfect peace.

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