We’re almost three months into the year, and life has felt like one battle right after another. These battles weren’t physical, but genuinely spiritual battles within my mind. I reminded myself of Ephesians 6:12. And even with this great reminder, I still found myself struggling. I would stress about the future; worry about grad school, schedules, or time management; hosting the If:Gathering for the first time; teaching; and just like typical me, I still doubted God.
Let me make one thing very clear: I am still a sinner, but by grace through faith, God calls me a saint.
What am I to do while living in a broken world that still thinks, worries, and stresses over the very things that are broken (including myself) in the world?
Picture a three or four-year old who is crying while having a cold with a runny nose. You know the kind with the snot just dripping down. That’s the kind of ugly cry I’m talking about.
Now, I wouldn’t go out and do this in public; but during my quiet, still moments with Jesus–you better believe–He saw every tear.
I was exposed.
The raw, uncut, not Instagram worthy Rachel.
In the midst of my battle this year, God has been writing on my heart a prayer for my friends. I pray it over those who struggle to see God’s loving light along their journey. I pray it over my friends who feel stuck, like God isn’t there. But then God showed me, I need this prayer. It’s found in Psalm 40:1-3. Check it out:
I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog; and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in Him.
Did you catch the part that says, “He inclined to me and heard my cry“? God hears us when we cry out to Him. For a cryer like me, this comforts my heart in so many ways.
But what am I actually crying about?
I wrestled with this question for awhile, and I found out that I’m crying because of brokenness. I’m crying about the brokenness I battle with every day as well as my friends, and on into the world. I’m crying out to God asking Him the deep, dark personal question: WHY? Why am I surrounded by such brokenness? I would even go on to describe all the brokenness I could see.
For three (probably longer) months, my crying was focused on the things I saw around me. It was focused on the stress I felt or the worries I had. I was only looking around me. I rarely ventured up to see Jesus and who He is.
I was stuck–stuck in this pit of self-destruction.
I would love to tell you that God answered my question, but that didn’t happen the way I thought. Instead He told me WHO. After three months of writing these three verses onto my heart, my question WHY was answered with a different question–WHO.
Who is God?
So instead of crying out to God, telling Him all about what was (is) in my pit of destruction or crying out why, I cried to God telling Him who He is to me.
Catch this–instead of crying asking why my pit of destruction looked this way, I cried about who God is to me.
My focus shifted.
It was no longer on me and my pit; it was on God.
I cried out the very verses I had been praying, telling God:
You are the one who draws me up from the pit.
You are the one who sets me upon a rock.
You are the one who makes my steps secure.
You are the one who puts a song of praise in my mouth.
You are all I need.
You do it all because YOU love ME!
And then I worshiped. That was the only response I had.
When I stopped looking at my pit, and looked up, I saw God.
I was in awe of what HE does for me.
So yes, I struggle each time a new battle with sin comes (doubt, stress, worry, trying to be good enough, you name it). And these battles create these giant pits of destruction–ones that are so large that I need God to get me out of the pit.
But I have a battle cry: WORSHIP.
Instead of crying out to God telling Him just how ugly, dirty, and messy the pit is, I’m going to look up at Jesus. My battle cry is worship because I’m not looking at the pit, I look at God. When I worship, I see God doing exactly what Psalm 40 says:
God draws me up from the pit of destruction.
God takes me out of the miry bog.
God puts me on a rock.
God makes each step secure.
God puts a new song in mouth–to where I literally sing praises to God.
We’ve been given a battle cry.
In the pit….
In the ugly, dirty, and messy….
In the doubts, fears, and worries…