Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This is my prayer in the Desert.

Psalm 84:5-7

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.  6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with blessings.  7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

This was my devotional for this morning, and I thought I'd share it, since it's pertinent to my life right now, and it's a great reminder.
Refreshment in the Desert

Blessed are those whose strength is in You . . . 

If I have come to know that God is my strength, then in all probability I've been drawing strength from some other source {myself, no doubt} and this "other" strength has disappointed me. 
It hasn't worked. It hasn't been effective. Perhaps I've tried many avenues seeking to rejuvenate that strength, and have come to the conclusion that I don't have the strength.  
For me this has been a process whereby I have come to know something that I didn't know before. I have arrived at a point of truth and realization: 
My strength is in God. Therefore I am blessed.

That leaves no room for doubt, for hesitancy, for argument. But if I have come to know that God is my strength, why am I not always blessed?  {Because I do not always walk in what I have come to know!}

Whose hearts are set on Zion... 

aka: In whose heart there is a deep desire to walk in God's will.
As the new creature in Jesus that I am, it is my deep desire to walk in His will. I now have "the laws of the Lord written on my heart," and I "joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man," so this requirement has been met.
And once again, the man whose deep desire is to walk in God's will is a man who is blessed--unequivocally. This blessing is mine as I commit myself to walk in God's will, trusting in His strength. And this doesn't mean I will always "perform" perfectly. That isn't what it says. It has to do with my heart's desire.

As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs...

The valley of Baka: a desert. 
This Scripture doesn't identify what the difficulties of the "desert" may be, or how intense, how painful, how lengthy, how wrought with frustration--just difficult circumstances that plunge into my life. I would say that this situation definitely qualifies as a desert.  
These very difficulties become a source--a spring. But a spring reached only through hardships. This indicates another "process": Difficulties were not always this way for me, but they have become a source. A change takes place. I take another route. I view the difficult times that come into my life differently.

A source. A source is where something originates. It's hard for me to see "difficulties" as my source of refreshment. But I trust God's word is true, so I bypass my logical deduction and go with what I have come to know as Truth: 
With God's strength as my strength, desiring His will in my heart, this desert of hardship becomes for me a spring.

Is this power--this source--capable of meeting my problems? I would be hesitant to answer if I had not experienced this myself.  To experience something means I can speak with some authority on that subject: I know what it is like because I have been there. Well, I have drunk from His cool water when I've been so very tired and thirsty, and I know what happens. I have experienced it. And I assure you, it meets every test.

The autumn rain also covers it with blessings. . .

I can't think of anything that would communicate more beautifully just how blessed the man is whose strength is in You and whose heart desires Your will than the descriptive phrase: 
Everything about it is so clean, so fresh, so alive. The air is sweet. The birds are singing. The drops of water sparkle on the flowers and trees, and the sky is startlingly blue. I want to take a deep breath and throw back my shoulders, facing my world with new strength......I am refreshed.......I am blessed.......You have touched my life.

They go from strength to strength . . .

I do not have to be strong. I tap into His strength. Is His strength sufficient? What a ridiculous question! 
{And yet, how often do I, through my behavior, express doubt as to the sufficiency of His strength?}
I can't "run out" of His strength. When I've exhausted one supply, there's another ready and waiting--it's never-ending.
I go from strength to strength.

.....So, with all that being said, I commit to myself and to You, Lord, to make this a time of refreshment... a time of dedication, and a time of plunging myself so deeply into this well of living water, that I will become a better person because of it.  THIS will be a time of seeking FIRST His kingdom, and His righteousness... and allowing God to work in my heart the way he so earnestly desires to.