Hope for the Grieving

Mt. Magazine 2008

When my parents died several years ago within a three month span of one another, my heart was totally broken. On top of that I was dealing with some other issues that were devastating for me at the time. It was in this desert time that I wrote the following prayer. God's response was what I felt like the Holy Spirit spoke gently and quietly to my spirit.

I don't live near the desert so no access to a desert picture but this old tree photographed at Mt. Magazine State Park in Arkansas comes close to picturing what I looked like at the time. I posted this prayer a couple of weeks ago. If you are a regular reader and not stopping via A Holy Experience, my apologies.

My Prayer
Lord, I take this opportunity to praise you
Even though I feel very dry within myself--
A desert that is cracked and barren, where plants
that once thrived have now become parched and shriveled--
that is how my soul feels--
Do I know beyond a shadow of any doubt that someday
that same barren, cracked, parched land will
flow with rivers of milk and honey? Yes, I know that--
My faith knows that from years of experience,
but my heart cries out to be released from all its sin,
its ugliness, its resentment and hatred, bitterness, and jealousy--
My heart cries out to praise from a pure heart once again,
To praise you, Oh God, from a heart of pure devotion,
from total and complete commitment to You,
My heart longs to be a heart of flesh and
not a heart of stone--
A heart that has been circumcised to all the vile
and filthy things of the world--
A heart where no area examined will expose anything
except cleanliness, no impure thoughts,
only righteousness, justice, and mercy.

God's Response

The Lord Himself will come to those
who are experiencing the desert of grief.
He Himself will shower the parched land.
He will rain on every inch until it is soaked--
Until the runoff of the Holy Spirit's balm
fills every nook, crack, and crevice
of your heart and soul.
Then you shall minister to others
who are experiencing this same grief.
You will teach them to rejoice,
to clap their hands, to give way to
the rhythm in their feet--
You will teach them to praise God at all times--
to cherish His promises,
to seek out the "hidden manna" of
Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior.
And then I Myself will come to you and wrap
you in fine linens--linens of purest white--
linens of righteousness, justice, and peace.
And when I look at you, I will see Jesus,
for He has taken all sin, all shame, all degradation
upon himself.
He has exchanged garments with you and
now you are clothed as in LIGHT--when others
look upon you, they will see Jesus and His brilliance.
They will see His love waiting to save them
from the same sin and destruction from which
He saved you.

Scripture that influenced my prayer and God's response--

Ezekiel 36:26
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh .

Colossians 2:11-12
11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

Psalms 48:12-14

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.

When I was in England some years ago, the guide at Windsor Castle took us out on a huge deck or back porch, veranda--I don't know what to call it really--but anyway, he spread his arm in a sweeping gesture and said, "From this vantage point, you can look out over all her ramparts."

I can't remember if it was that day or soon
thereafter when I was reading about the ramparts of Zion in Psalms and I thought, "Oh, that is what it means. I can look out over the past experiences of my life and see God's hand inevery one of them. "Consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels, that you may tell of them to Jeff, Michael, and Chris." So in the prayer above when I talked about "by faith knowing that someday that same terrain would be filled with the glory of
God," that is the scripture I was thinking about.

Micah 6:8
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Romans 13:12
12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

I love to pray scripture back to God because
1) I don't have to think twice about whether I am praying for the right things
2) God's heart is moved by scripture and genuine motivation by it

I think it is interesting that the picture above while showing me in all my misery there in the forefront, also shows in the background that land flowing with milk and honey. Isn't God awesome?

Now I hope you won't care if I insert just a tad bit of humor here. But maybe that is why many folks here in Arkansas refer to it as the Holy Land. smile

Posted in community with the other sojourners at:

holy experience