We all have situations in our lives that challenge us. Sometimes they are major but more often than not, they are minor inconveniences that we tolerate. They are not debilitating, just annoying but over time, dealing with these minor inconveniences can be discouraging. I was in that space and in my distress, the only thing I could manage to do was pray. I’m not saying that out of any sense of moral virtue or to brag. In fact, it was actually the first time that I had deliberately prayed in a little while. I mean, I pray daily but my daily devotion had started to become more obligation than anything else. And I am clergy, but my liturgical prayers had started to feel like work. So a moment of focused, deliberately vulnerable prayer was long overdue. So I prayed.Honestly. Fervently. And the Lord answered.
I’m sure you are waiting for the testimony about the spectacular and marvelous things that came to pass. Here it is: I woke up this morning to and got dressed and out of the house on time. I ran an errand that had the potential to make me late,but I managed to get to work on time. As I pulled in the lot, I found a convenient parking spot. When I got to my desk, one of my team members greeted me with a cold glass of water and another decided out of the kindness of his heart to buy me lunch today. These may seem like insignificant things to you, but when you have been discouraged by the little annoyances of life, these little moments of grace are extravagant and lavish. When you struggle with chronic pain, a convenient parking spot is better than surgery. When you really couldn’t afford the money you were going to spend for lunch, then the chicken salad sandwich your coworker bought is a five star meal. When you struggle with anxiety and often can’t leave home at all, to get up and out without any trouble and without taking medicine is a miracle.
I understood today better than I ever had what the songwriter meant by these words:
In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief;and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy RETURN sweet hour of prayer.