I’m not a morning person. I know Scripture says His mercies are new every morning, but when my alarm goes off and I slowly peel my eyes open, what I am feeling is far from mercy.
All it feels like is darkness. And I have to remind myself that I’m an adult and have children to feed and clothe, and lunches to make and back-packs to stuff and on and on and on. So I do it. I slump out of bed, put on my slippers and start the day (much to my shegrin, because my heart is most certinaly not in it).
Beginnings (for me, at least) are hard.
I’m going to take a radical guess that most of us experience this on our way to church. I’m willing to bet that even the most committed Christians at times have to internally talk themselves out of skipping church on Sundays. I am a pastors wife, and at great risk to myself, I admit this is true for me.
Not because I hate church, because I absolutely love it. And not because the people there bug me, because they truly are the cream of the crop. But just because I’m a fickle human being with a lot on my mind, with stones in my heart and flesh that constantly works against me. I also have children that fight each other and test my patience and getting out the door can be a tremendous task.
Not only is beginning the day or going to church difficult at times, but just getting myself to start praying can be a challenge. Am I the only one?
Shamefully, its only after I’ve consulted a friend, written in a journal, or numbed myself with TV that I finally take it to the Lord in prayer. And the beginning is the hardest part.
But I take courage and refuge in the Psalms, as I don’t feel alone in this battle of beginnings I constantly find myself in. Paticularily Psalm 16 has given me some hope.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.
Like David, I often start my prayers calling out for help in my distress. I’m not calm, nor resting in His mercies. I’m not beaming with hope or secure in my standing with the Lord. I just need help. Preserve ME!
But as we see there is nothing wrong with this because what this does is start a conversation. As Psalm 16 continues we see David lay out his burdens about those around him who serve other gods and then he begins to preach to himself about who God is.
He reminds himself about who he is talking to. The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot (vs. 5). He remembers that his future is in Gods hands. And that the Lord is his great counselor and wonderful instructor. And before David even knows it, his distress is calmed and his confidence in the Father returns to him as he says, I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken (vs.8).
His earlier call to be preserved is informed yet again by the knowledge that when we have the Lord at our right hand we shall not be shaken. This is not David taking refuge in his own strength but wholly and purely finding strength in who he knows to be ultimately Soveriegn over all things, including himself.
His fears regarding his own preservation seem to also be relieved by his limited and yet prophetic understanding of what is yet to come… For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption (vs.10). Our Old Testemant forefathers saw through a mirror dimly lit, as to what was going to come in the person of Jesus Christ. There was accurate prophesy about Jesus and yet there was much that needed to be taken by faith as to what may come. And here we see David doing just that. He knows he will not see ultimate corruption, but he doesn’t know how.
Much in the same way we also see dimly about Christ’s return. And yet, we still wait in anticipation and excitement for that glorious day.
But the best part of this prayer is how joy is restored to David in the midst of his praying. Read these words and feel the weight of glory being expressed through them.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure (vs. 9).
What started as a plea for help; ridden with all kinds of insecurities from David, was remedied completely by talking it through with his good Father. Then his fickle flesh dwelt secure. Praise God.
In the same way, when I in obedience roll out of bed and care for my family in the way I know I am called to. After the sleep has been rubbed out of my eyes and the day is in full swing, I live in the new mercies He promises. And when I fight the battles needed to be fought in order for myself and my unruly children to get to church. I step in the door and lay eyes on a sweet face’s and then experience the gospel preached over my soul for my good. And when I cry out in faith to the Master of my fate, in prayer, I begin a most important conversation that leads to the Spirit reminding me of who God is and the confidence I have in Him.
He meets me in these places by His grace and for my growth…in Him.
Beginning can be hard, but the ending is always sweet. So lets let the end of Davids prayer wash over us now. Read it and glory with David in the Lord’s promises. And the next time you go to pray, remember this…
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.