Praying in trouble

Why is it that when something is going wrong it is hard to believe God will save me? I know I am not alone in this, I see it written all over Psalm 116.

It is not that the author has no faith, he knows the Lord has shown mercy in the past and responds with love. In v1,

‘I love the Lord for he heard my voice.’

However in v3&4

‘The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; … Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘Lord, save me!’’

Here anguish overcomes him. I too find anguish separates me from the Lord leaving me feeling trapped. Though he overcomes and calls to the Lord, he still needs to reassure his soul that the Lord will intervene:

7 ‘Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.’

The surprise comes in v12-13 where he summons courage to pray, doing so not out of confidence but as an expression of thanks for all the times the Lord has saved him.

‘12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.’

So, when anxiety separates me from God, it is good to call on Him for salvation out of thanks for His past grace.

Whom do we worship?

Society exalts what we do and what we produce. We find ourselves worshiping the God who does things for us. This leads our hearts to shift our worship from a focus on God himself to what He does, or becoming self absorbed or focussed on the experience.

A discussion arose on what men and women were looking for in each other. The men thought women wanted a provider … In fact the women wanted to be loved.  The women thought men wanted someone to take care of a home, whereas the men wanted a lover and a friend. Less mature responses might be that the relationship is all about ourselves, or to focus on the experience of the relationship, not the person.

A similar misconception works out in worship and life. In Song of Songs 4 the man, symbolising Christ, describes the woman, symbolising His people.  He delights in her beauty.  This is about who she is in character and love, not about doing things to produce fruit. For many our concept of living and worshiping is about what we do and what matters is what we achieve. We find ourselves overlooking who we live for and how we live – the outworking of faith, hope and love. In Song of Songs 5 we see the woman, having heard her lover speak tender and affirming words of love, responding with heartfelt praise of her lover for who he is.

Can we listen to God when He tells us how He loves us?  Can we worship Him for who He is?