Where Do You Turn When The Bottom Drops Out?
by JoAnn Lampe
“O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me,”
Have you ever felt as if every time you turned around there was yet another major crisis in your life? Cancer, betrayal, abandonment, divorce, addiction, foreclosures, mounting debt as you pay off necessary medical and other bills due to a loved ones illness; these were a few of the things I faced within my family after I rededicated my life to Christ.
Wow – “Who let the dogs out”??? I came to the LORD, SO excited to stop taking baby steps ready to dig deeper into His Word and to develop a personal relationship with Him; wasn’t He happy about that? Wasn’t I doing “it” right? Was I not studying, praying, and testifying enough? Where was the “TESTIMONY” that I always heard people talk about? Where was the “Glory Cloud”, where was the audible voice that said “Well done!” where was God?
During this time, I decided to read, study and journal through the book of Psalms, I chose Psalms to study because I had been sustained by verses within it. My Bible is a “study Bible” so it has introductions to each chapter. I decided to start my study by reading the introduction.
The author of the introduction writes about superficial communication; we greet friends and acquaintances with “Hi, how are you?” add a few clichés, there’s no real in-depth conversation. If the essence of our communication stays on this superficial plateau it will go nowhere. The author states, “…it is only when honest feelings and emotions are shared that real people can be known and helped.” He continues to say that often this superficial communication spills over into our talks with God. We recite some prayers we’ve known since childhood, throw in a few clichés and call it prayer. The author states, “There is no doubt that God hears and understands these feeble attempts, but by limiting the depth of our communication, we become shallow in our relationship with Him. But God knows us, and He wants to have a genuine communication with us.” The authors of the Psalms, whether despairing or rejoicing share their honest feelings with God.
“O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’”(Ps. 3: 1 – 2)
This was my cry, “How many rise up against me!” But, come with me as the Scripture reveals God’s heart for us. (Bold italics mine)
“But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.” (Psalm 3: 3-6)
“…the Lord will hear when I call to him.” (Psalm 4:3)
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11-12)
It was here that I began to understand that God desires to know what’s on my heart, I can cry out to Him in anger, frustration and confusion. I can rejoice with Him when I see His hand at work in my life. God doesn’t want me skimming the surface, he wants me to rake up the muck and chuck out the weeds that choke the life out of the water. When I do that I have a clearer vision of who God is and who He wants me to be. And I know that no matter what the circumstances of my life, God is with me and I don’t need to try to figure out the circumstances I only need to focus on Him. He hears my prayers both the feeble and the deeper more intimate ones. “…the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.” (Psalm 6: 8-9)
JoAnn Lampe has attended Crossroads Church since November, 2001. Her daughter Dana, is married to Scott and they have a son, Alex, the joy of his grandmother's life. Daughter, Sarah, is engaged to Chuck and will be married April 17, 2010. JoAnn volunteers at Wings of Eagles Ranch, loves to read and take long walks with her 2 dogs.