Scripture reference: Psalm 73
How can I not believe after everything I have seen? Even on my darkest days, I can look back and see how you protected and provided. Surely, O God, you are good to me.
Before I knew You, I longed for love and belonging. My feet took me faster than I was prepared, and my heart didn’t object; my heart said it was safe, but it is deceitful above all things. I scratched and scavenged the surface of every relationship for care and devotion, but came up with nothing. I gave up so much and got nothing in return. All of me was gone, but the others- they thrived. Like a white-washed tomb, I was prepared for burial. Empty. Why God?
Why was I the one wondered? The hateful and deceitful prosper. They are loved and cared for by many, their children are successful and popular, their wealth climbs. Their mouths are full of lies, but still power follows them. Are you really there, God? If you can hear me, do you love me? How can you love me, and love them? The ones who boast and brag. Why can’t I find love and belonging? It’s not because I haven’t searched, because I have. But every time I came up with more of the same. Every person I have ever loved has failed me…why should you be different?
Incredibly sad and empty, I couldn’t recognize myself. I tried to pretend I was fine with a fake smile; an achievement; a distraction. God was ignoring me, I knew it. Even if he existed and saw other people, I was invisible to him. Just like I had truly been in all of my other relationships: invisible; disposable; detestable. I couldn’t look at me, so how could you?
Then I turned to you, God. In a seemingly ordinary moment, I heard your voice and turned. This was the first time I felt your voice from a place indescribable. I was wearing blue; fake pearls for good measure at the banquet, when I heard “I forgive you”. I shuttered and goosebumps covered my trembling arms. In that moment I was crushed under a lifetime of regret, and you forgave me. What was I doing at this banquet? How am I sitting in the presence of people who, if they knew what I did to my baby, would banish me. Jesus’ face hung on a painting on the stage, and his voice hung in my heart. “I forgive you”. I didn’t know it then, but I needed to forgive myself. God had done the heavy lifting, the rest was up to me.
Overwhelmed, hope consumed my darkened heart. Maybe things can be different…
But you, God, were always there. Weeping over my messes. Feeling the pain of my losses. In the moments that I dared say “if there is a God, then kill me!”, you stayed. Waiting. Knowing a day would come when I would stop talking and listen. It is by your grace that I am here. Held together because you haven’t let go; you haven’t dumped me from the palm of your hand. I was always loved; always wanted; and chosen by you. I couldn’t see it from the depths of my sin and shame. I was blind, but now I see.
You are for me, O God. I have a home in heaven where all the striving will finally stop. I have everything in the saving blood of Jesus. If nothing else goes my way in this life, I will still have all I need in you; still more than I deserve.
When it all looks bleak and dim, Your presence warms. I can feel the warmth of eternity and can rest in the promise that there is more than this. More than any eye has seen, or eye has heard. More than any man can fully know.
“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds”.
Prayer for those at the Deeper Still retreats this weekend: Lord, meet them in their lowest point of pain. Father, show them more of who you are and who Jesus is. May they hear you whisper in your unfailing love, “I forgive you”, and may they forgive themselves. We thank you that you promise to comfort those who mourn and heal the brokenhearted. Meet each person on the retreat in a personal and powerful way. We ask for freedom and healing for each of your daughters and sons attending. In Jesus’ name, Amen.