I’ve known the 23rd Psalm for a long time, but the Word of God is living and sharper than any 2-edged sword–it’s always speaking to us in different ways. More and more I am understanding the comfort of these words.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
No matter what trial we go through in this life, the Lord is right there with us. Walking beside us. He is guiding us, and chastening us. And it’s painful, but it’s comforting.
Earlier this week, we had a women’s meeting at church led by our pastor’s wife. It was such a lovely time of fellowship in the Lord and learning. The Lord used something she said to speak to me.
She was talking about prayer (in response to a prayer request–this wasn’t even the real message), and talking about praying earnestly and not letting go, like Jacob/Isreal did. She was talking about praying for the salvation of our children earnestly and with passion, and being persistent about it.
On my way home that night, the Lord began to open my eyes to my own prayer life, and to gently chasten me.
I’ve prayed about many things over the years. But as the Lord brought to my mind, the two things that I would say are the “desires of my heart,” the things I have prayed about most earnestly…they were both basically selfish and temporal things. They weren’t material things, and they weren’t sinful things. In fact, I believe both of these things could help me serve Him better.
But the point is, they aren’t eternal things. They are based in this earthly life and body.
The things that I have desired most in my prayer life aren’t eternal things. And I had to repent.
My pastor has been preaching a lot about prayer, and about God’s kingdom being the focus of it. In addition to that, I’ve been thinking and studying about prayers in the Bible. Those men (and women) praised the Lord. They worshiped. They prayed for salvation.
Their prayers look so different than ours do now.
So often it seems we want to make God our personal genie in a bottle. We want to ask him to give us wealth, health, and comfort. We want a new car, a bigger house, a better paying job. Our world tells us that should be our focus. Even in Christian circles we find that focus.
More and more, I’m burdened that these are not the things that should be my focus. Those aren’t eternal things. They don’t matter.
God’s glory and expanding His kingdom. That’s what matters, and I pray that I would get more and more lost in that every day. So many people say, “I don’t want to lose myself. I can be me and still follow Christ.” More and more, I think that’s just the point. I don’t want to be me. I want to lose myself in Him and His purposes. To lose my life and find it.
Oh, I am so far away from where I’d like to be. But I’m comforted and I’m so thankful for a God who chastens His children. Sometimes gently and sometimes not-so-gently. He is leading me every day, guiding me along the straight and narrow path, making me more and more in the image of Christ every day, even to the point of chastening.
Such a sweet comfort.