Nothing else

The first time I heard this song was about a year ago at a Kari Jobe concert my friend brought me to, which was more of a worship service than a concert. We were a year into the pandemic and everyone was spaced out. But we were on our feet, on our knees, worshipping the God who never changes.

I loved this song immediately. It gave words to a prayer in my heart I couldn’t give words to myself. Isn’t that one of the most beautiful things about music?

Fast forward to now. I turned 34 this month. Looking back on the last year, I’ve learned a lot. It was a huge year for my husband and I. And one of the best things God developed in me was a desire for prayer.

Before this year, I never really tried too hard to pray outside of moments of crisis and little mental prayers through my day. Of course God had my devotion and my heart, but still the concept of sitting down just to pray was too overwhelming for me…I would always ask, “What is prayer?” It felt like too big a question. Untouchable. But honestly…is it? Is it really that complicated? Do we make it harder than it has to be?

I think so.

I did.

When I sit to pray now, to seek wisdom from God, I think about all the stories of him I’ve read in the Bible. How he created this planet I live on and everything in it and around it and outside of it. I think about how he parted a sea for a nation to walk through. The laws of physics, economics, social standards… all submit to him. That is who I’m talking to.

And he meets with me about my life. My mundane, small, sometimes seemingly too small life. Yes, he meets with me about my life. I ask for wisdom with my money and he gives it. He advises me. I ask for help on behalf of my loved ones and he helps. He sees how my heart aches as they go through their own battles. Nothing is too big for him, and nothing is too small. Consider that incredibly true fact each and every time you meet with him.

Daniel Henderson recently spoke at our church, and he said something that finally broke down the walls surrounding prayer. He said no one is good at prayer. That phrase set me free. Because that’s exactly what held me back for too many years… I wasn’t good at it.

No one is good at prayer. There’s not a bar we have to reach. We can’t fail at this. Prayer isn’t even about our skills of conversation or knowledge of theology anyway – it’s about God and his love for us.

So how does all this tie in with this song? This song starts with God. There is nothing too big, to small, too complicated or too simple. And it’s not about us. Sure, it’s about us in the way that we’re the ones needing his help. But it’s only God that can truly help. And he knows the best way to help.

This is how I want my life to be. Starting first with God. Coming boldly and humbly before him in prayer each day. Good at it or not.

Nothing else. When I start with God, all other things flow from there.

I'm caught up in Your presence
I just want to sit here at Your feet
I'm caught up in this holy moment
I never wanna leave
Oh, I'm not here for blessings
Jesus, You don't owe me anything
More than anything that You can do
I just want You

Thank you for seeing me [a prayer]

You knit me together in my mothers womb. I am known by you. I have never been a passive, random outcome of a life system – that is not the way you work. You are intentional.

I am not the same as others around me. I am different. You saw to it that others complement my weaknesses, and I can buoy others with my strengths. You saw to it that I would come alive when I live in community with others.

My life was never meant to look like my neighbors. It was meant to look however you see fit as I look to you. And that alone could keep me dependent on you, for it is so easy to emulate what I see and what I think I desire. But you’ve made me special. And you are but a breath away, ready to lead me and instruct me. For you know the plans you have for me. You know the paths I must travel and the people I must meet. You know the desires of my heart and what gets me up each morning, for you made me.

And you listen as I pray. You hear each worry and do not shun me for bringing my earthly troubles. For this is where I am and where you’ve placed me. You care when my grocery bill is low. You want to help when my friendships are hard. You understand I am tempted with jealousy and you offer a way out.

The trials of my life are not petty in your eyes. They are opportunities you use to show me a better outlook, a better mindset. They are opportunities to show me that you are here with me. You see. You know. You understand.

And you offer me wisdom. You lead me to your truth. You don’t abandon me. No, you rescue me!

God, you are only good. I submit to your leading and take comfort in how you see what I can’t. My vision is limited, but yours is not. I trust you in every circumstance and praise you with every outcome.

Assuming the Worst

“The Lord must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered.”
Deuteronomy 1:27

The twelve leaders had returned from scouting the promise land. Two of them raved about the beautiful land, saying it was indeed everything God had been promising, and they encouraged the community to press forward and claim the land that had been promised to them!

But the other ten didn’t see that. All they saw were obstacles and enemies. They incited fear and rebellion, causing the nation to cry out, “The Lord must hate us! That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt — to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered.”

Do you see what’s going on here? Instead of hearing the good news that the land ahead of them was everything God had been promising them, they believed the worst.

As I’ve said before, I’m on a journey of reading through the Bible in chronological order, with the help of The Bible Recap as a resource and a guide. I’ve now read Genesis, Job, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. And through these books I’ve gotten to see a lot of God’s character. And this is specifically why the verse I’m talking about today struck a chord with me. Because of all I’ve seen in these five books so far, God isn’t out to get us. He doesn’t play with us like toys. He doesn’t create these complex evil schemes to destroy us.

So to see the Israelites claim “The Lord must hate us!”…it simply stopped me in my tracks.

God didn’t hate them. In fact, he felt the very opposite and had done nothing but act in that manor. Yet all they could see was their own fear. And all they could do was act out of that fear.

Had they learned nothing since Egypt?

…Have I?

This is where the rubber meets the road. Because as soon as I was surprised by their reaction, I was convicted of my own reactions to the way God works.

God doesn’t hand a good life to us in a pretty basket. And what he was asking of the Israelites wasn’t pretty or easy either. He told them, in a matter of words, Before you is the land I have set aside for you. But you must go in and drive out those who live there now. You must go to war with them and destroy themeven though they are more numerous and stronger than you.

But he also said, in a manner of words, I will go with you and I will give you victory.

But they didn’t believe his promise of victory. Even though they had witnessed miracle after miracle after miracle, they still doubted his power. They still doubted that he cared for them.

I don’t think we need to see more miracles. I think we need to trust him. Clearly, miracles alone won’t keep us close to God. And I think the reason may be that we beg God for a miracle in times of desperation and agony, but as soon as we are satisfied we no longer need him.

It’s time to take a leap of faith and trust God. Time to cultivate a relationship with him that continues through the good and the bad. One that never ceases to acknowledge him and ask him for daily wisdom and guidance. For confidence and courage!

If we live one desperate moment to the next, we’ll only see the trials. We will assume that God has evil planned for us. But if we live in reverence we’ll see that he actually has a master plan at work that has a long term vision that reaches far past today.

He is worthy of our trust. He is trustworthy.

I dare you, as I’m daring myself, to assume the best. God is for you, not against you. Submit to his ways, his timing, his plans. And when he say go, go! When he says stay, stay. And when he sends you out against a foe that is bigger and stronger than you, march in confidence.

God doesn’t need to prove himself to us. But we need to prove to him that we can take orders and trust his word. And if we can do that, we will look back and see provision after provision, miracle after miracle, and a depth of relationship that will last into eternity.

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