Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.
Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
mere mortals that you think of them?
More and more lately, I’m reminded of just how inadequate I am - apart from God. I often think of a hymn I heard many times when I was younger, during the many summers spent in my grandmother’s church - you know, back when church began with both a deacons devotion and a pulpit devotion. You knew church was about to begin when someone, somewhere on bended knee, with or without the help of accompaniment, began singing:
"I need Thee every hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior!
I come to Thee."
I remember thinking "WHY is this song so long!??" If you were to stop reading and sing the lines above now, you’d see it takes a while to get it out. It’s funny how time and maturity changes things. I sat on my couch last night and sang-cried those lines for a while, and it didn’t seem long at all. Oh, to just sit and be in the presence of the Lord. I often wonder if the writer was truly in need of a tangible blessing as she wrote “Oh, bless me now…” Sure, blessings and things and gifts come, but nothing, nothing at all is better than the gift of His presence. For a while now, after the sun goes down and the streets begin to quiet and there’s nothing left to “do”, I find myself just sitting. My first few months here I would have told you I was bored or hot or lonely, but wow, how I praise God now for this time. For Him allowing me the time to sit and fall into Him as my safe, soft, place of rest.
I’m often asked what it is like to live here and many times, I feel that people don’t always want the real answer. I usually share that it’s a mix of good and bad times, but God is at work, and while that is true, it is also true that I have never been in such an unstable and unpredictable environment in my life. One in which my “plans” mean absolutely nothing, my striving seems pointless and the enemy seems to be laughing at my every attempt to strive harder. That’s the honest answer. Just like you, I don’t know what is coming when I open my front door each morning. For the last few months, I've opened it only to hear news of sickness, conflict, hurt, death, strife among missionaries, and yes sin. For me, it’s been mental and emotional instability, concerns for my family back home, and financial trouble. As much as you and I strive and strive to work through, push through, keep going, it can seem as though the enemy has “knocked us to the ground and forced us to live in darkness like those in the grave” as David laments in Psalm 143:3.
In times like these, I am grateful for His presence. Grateful that He’s ready and willing and waiting to sit with me, to hear me call on His name, to comfort me and for His “gracious Spirit to lead me forward on firm footing”. (Psalm 143:10B)
We do truly need Him every hour. There’s not a minute of the day that we don’t. My prayer is that He continues to remind us through His word and His spirit that He is an ever present help in times of trouble.
Later that night, after the tears dried, a new song came to mind:
"And he walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing."
My heart is ringing today, and for that, I am grateful.
Thank you for your continued support, love and prayers. Dios te bendiga.
Venid a mí, todos los que estáis cansados y cargados, y yo os haré descansar.
Mateo 11:28 (LBLA)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV)