By Rick Marschall
Special to ASSIST News Service
SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. (ANS) — Hey, God. It’s Me Again. You know I realize the importance in approaching You in reverence and awe; and I usually do; and it often bothers me when Your people do not. But I need a little more of the way we can also approach You in prayer — I love that you have so many facets! — as if we are on a first-name basis. Which we are.
I have been seeking you hard this week, God. And when I have not prayed, I have the feeling that You have read my heart even better, anyway. And You have answered me in the thousand ways that You always surprise me. Remembering Your promises at odd moments. Hearing from friends who care. Catching an old favorite gospel song on the radio. Thinking of Bible verses I didn’t realize I had memorized… in fact, some of them I KNOW I had not memorized. How do You do that???
And then You spoke to me. No, I can’t tell whether You have a deep voice or a raspy one, or what accent You have. But I found myself KNOWING things, and knowing they were from You. They made sense, they brought me peace, and I could never have such wisdom on my own. Like the other day: I was thinking, with all my problems and frustrations and vulnerability and despair — the day I wanted to just get in a car and drive for three days, with no destination in mind — and, remember?, my cry that I felt like a faulty Christian? It had to come from You that I was not a faulty Christian, but in Your eyes, I was just… a Christian.
And then I felt I knew Your heart that no Christian is “just” a Christian, because that is the best You want for us! And I remembered that Your Word says that problems don’t evaporate when we accept Christ. You tell me they will even increase. I know that. But I have Your arm to lean on, a rod and staff to comfort me, a presence even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, that You are an ever-present help in times of trouble. God, I realized how cold and alone people who don’t know You must feel.
You have brought me peace. I thought a couple times that I understood it. But, you know, it passes understanding.
But in healing my hurts, in being a God who listens and whispers back, You brought me more than peace. You brought me miracles. You might not know this — well, I guess You do! — but I feel like real miracles have touched me now, at the end of this trial. You know what I mean:
I felt so “down”… and now I am filled with joy.
I have felt so dumb and acted so stupidly… but You gave me knowledge of so many profound truths.
I have been blind, and missed so many things right in front of me… but You made me see. Clearly.
I was not listening to You or Your promises or Your children in so many ways… but now I hear Your words, Your sweet music.
I have been lame, feeling crippled in my “walk” with You… but right about now, God, You have me dancing!
And something that’s hard to understand, and harder to explain to other people, is something else I KNOW is true. This has been a tough week, God, and I thank You for answering my prayers; but slap me silly if I ever pray again that I want to live in a world where these trials simply do not exist. In that kind of world I would never need to turn to You, or want to know You better, or feel Your love, or be touched by Your miracles. I don’t want to get adjusted to THAT world. With You just a prayer away, I’ll keep it right here.
And, God… thanks again.
Rick Marschall is the author of 65 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia Magazine called him “perhaps America’s foremost authority on popular culture”) to history and criticism; country music, television history, biography and children’s books. He is recipient of the 2008 “Christian Writer of the Year” award from the Greater Philadelphia Writer’s Conference, and produces a weekly e-mail devotional, “Monday Morning Music Ministry.” His e-mail address is: RickMarschall@gmail.com.