"Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Thou has relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer."
We have a false sense of entitlement. That just because we are having a hard time, people should help or pay attention. Don't get me wrong, we are commanded to love one another and to bear on anothers burdens. But what i am talking about here is different.
We are, in an of ourselves: sinful, unrighteous, children of wrath and dead. Great pick me up thought! The truth is that if we fail to realize this, then we will fail to realize how much grace God gives and how He provides.
O God of my righteousness! - Our righteousness comes from God. The reason why he listens to us is grace, not because we did the spiritual checklist for the day. I often forget this and think that God owes me. "You have to listen because I have lived for you so pay up!!" Bold statement, but how often does this reflect my attitude? I think what it does reflect, is my heart and my sin. God is redeeming me, He is my righteousness and I need him.
Thou has relieved me in my distress; - this enforces something I have heard for along time. God will not call you somewhere and not provide for it. As you may know, Brooks and I have been in ministry for awhile. The danger that we face is expecting God to always relieve or meet our needs in the same way. For many years it was the same - mail out letters and ask people to help support us for the summer and they would. A few summers ago we sent out about 120 letters and only got 6 back. The months went on and nothing happened. I was getting frustrated. I was like, "Come on God! Do your trick that you do, that everybody likes." It was like I was holding a hoop for God to jump thru like He was some kind of circus poodle for my entertainment. The months went on. I kept getting frustrated. Then one day as I was realizing God wasn't performing like I thought, an image came to me. Picture holding the hoop, and the poodle suddenly changes to a lion. A big lion. One that isn't happy that you are trying to make him go through a little hoop, and he is growling.
I set my hoop down.
I realized what I was trying to do, and apologized. I realized that God does not perform for me, He gives me grace. Grace does not equal entitlement. If you are entitled to it, then it isn't grace.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. - You know he doesn't have to? He would be totally justified in shutting off all communication. Just because you sit down to read the Bible doesn't mean He has to speak to you. Just because you pray doesn't mean He has to listen. Thankfully, He does hear us, and that is because of grace. I get nervous around Christians sometimes, because they carry around alot of hoops. "Jump God! Jump!" I realized that I do too. I challenge you to think about what hoops you are carrying around and to lay them down. Hoops breed disappointment and rob you of intimacy. Grace and living via grace, will restore it.
I'm sorry for delaying in writing. Maybe i didn't want to jump through a hoop. :O) Thanks for reading.