Prayer for Strength
Are You There God?
Life is so overwhelming at times. A major illness, the death of a loved one, a financial reversal, or the end of a dream that we were sure was God's will can send our head spinning and makes us feel so helpless. It is at these moments that we realize that we are not the masters of our fate, or the captain's of our soul.
Sometimes we feel like David, the King and the sweet Psalmist of Israel who wrote: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?" (22:1).
We wrestle with our faith in these hours and wonder if we did something to make God mad at us. It seems that His blessings are held back from our lives, while others are experiencing His wonderful favor and protection.
We pray for relief, only to be met with more troubles. Then our prayer life moves to a plea for strength to make it through, and a hope that He will indeed listen to our petition. It is at these times that the Spirit comforts us with the truths of Scripture.
I. Our God is Indeed in Control
Psalm 103 begins as a magnificent hymn of praise to the Lord. It talks about His blessings and compassion as a loving Father to us His children. The Psalm ends with a universal call for praise. That call begins with verse 19 and a declaration of God's sovereignty. It is this wonderful sovereignty that gives our Lord the ability and freedom to show His magnificent blessing and compassion spoken of earlier.
We find in Jeremiah 32:17 that God has made the heavens and the earth by His great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for Him. There is absolutely no situation that can happen to us that takes the Lord by surprise or causes Him to worry. Nothing is beyond his rule. And this same God, who rules over all, as He was with Israel of old, so also He will be with us. And He'll never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
II. Our God is At Work in Our Lives
For the people of God, Scripture teaches that the Lord is diligently at work in our lives. Philippians 1:6 tells us that we can be confident that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." It is God who has initiated the relationship with us. It is He who will see that this relationship continues into eternity.
And what is the purpose of that which happens to us? No matter what, all things work together for good if we love God (Romans 8:28). Notice it doesn't say that all things that happen will be good. Obviously that isn't true. Rather they work together for our good. The ultimate good that comes out of these things is that they conform us to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). God is making a new humanity; a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17) patterned after Jesus, the second Adam (I Corinthians 15:45). And we His people, are part of that new humanity.
III. Our Prayers Don't Go Unanswered
When we think that God isn't there, and that He's abandoned us, indeed the opposite is true. Jesus who quoted David's words on the cross and said: "My God, my God why have you forsaken me" was the only one ever truly abandoned by the Father. And His abandonment was because He took upon Himself my sin and yours. That sin had separated all humanity from a holy God. Jesus took our sins and removed them as far as the East is from the West. Now, through faith in Christ, no man, woman or child, ever has to face separation from God again. Our prayers don't go unanswered. He may not give us everything that we want. But He gives us everything that we need.
So our communications with the Lord should include our needs, and desires. But they shouldn't stop there. They should also be prayers like: "Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet nevertheless, not my will but thine be done" (Luke 22:42). "Give me the strength to accept and follow Your will no matter what you allow in my life." And they should be the giving of thanks that He is there and in control no matter what. Our God loves us with an everlasting love, and nothing that happens to us in this life will change that fact. We are a blessed people, for we belong to Him forever.