Originally published Wednesday, 28 June 2017.
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This month our study is focused on prayer and what it means to come boldly to the throne of God.
Week Four Study Overview:
Today, we are wrapping up our series on prayer by discussing what it means to pack up pieces of pain.
Key Point of Struggle:
Why am I always given a bunch of Christian cliché’s to deal with the hard things of life?
Key Proof of Comfort:
I’m slowly working my way through Lysa TerKeurst’s book Uninvited. In it, she has a chapter titled When Our Normal Gets Snatched, where she tells the story of a friend who went through a divorce and was forced to move from her home. The last item to pack was a wedding portrait. Lysa’s dear friend called her and posed this question: “What do you do with the things that have no place anymore?”
I was struck by that question because in life we’re always packing for something. Maybe it’s for a vacation or an address change that requires suitcases and cardboard boxes. We clean out the closet or basement where there’s been an over-accumulation of stuff. Or, much worse, maybe we’re forced to pack away friendships, marriages, or the death of someone we love deeply. We hit the unfriend button, speak through legal representation, or pack the left behind contents of life belonging to one who moved to eternity. If there’s anything of which we can be certain, it’s that there will be seasons of packing, and it won’t always be for a tropical trip.
I’ve been spending time preparing for a teaching series, and I keep coming back to one solid point that won’t ever require packing away. God will never leave us. Go ahead; take a moment to allow those words to sink deeply inside. Let them settle in peace. God will never leave. Not ever.
Throughout the month of June we’ve been looking at some powerful prayers, and there’s one particular Psalm written from the hand of David that begins with declaration, turns to conversation, and ends with powerful affirmation.
Let’s look at Psalm 23 and then single out one verse in particular.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Now let’s look at the last verse one more time:
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I want to tell you this: whatever you find yourself packing away at this time in life, know that God is with you. His goodness and mercy will follow you every day of your journey on this side of heaven. Even when you cannot see or feel any indication of His presence, He is still there.
- In your journal, write this familiar Psalm, highlight verse 6, and then list everything you’ve already done today or will do throughout the rest of the day. Look for purpose in every moment, every activity, and every breath. Write about it, and then choose to stand strong in truth knowing you have a God who will never leave.
Lysa’s friend asked what to do with things that no longer have a place. There are no easy answers for that. Let’s just be honest and say that when life is hard, the last words we want to hear are a bunch of Christian cliché’s strung together to make us feel something we don’t. But, do you want to know something else? It doesn’t change the fact that Jesus refuses to leave us, won’t forsake us, and wants us to pack all the things that no longer belong in our lives inside His life. When we do that, we will gain strength that has no other explanation except the supernatural. We will stand on truth that comes solely through faith alone. A cliché is a bunch of overused words and expressions. The truth is if you want peace, then you need to overuse the Bible. Whether or not you find what’s in it to be nothing more than a plethora of platitudes or not, if you need to find life, you’ll find it in the pages of that ancient text.
Go boldly to the throne, hand over the packed up boxes of grief that no longer have a place and gain strength. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but you were made for hard things.