God Does Hold On

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No matter who we are, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we pray, there will be times darkness that cannot be avoided. These times may be of our own making, of our reaction to others, or pushed on us by the nature of a fallen, hostile world. When these times of darkness come, there may not be a Bible verse, a prayer, or a comforting word to be heard. We may seem very much alone in our own mental blindness.

What then? Are we to just listen to the negative voices that fill our thoughts during such times? Do we just let the darkness shape how we live or wish not to live? Do we seek to retreat to a place where thoughts cannot follow (so we think) and try to cocoon ourselves in a imaginary world of distractions and denials? Oh, what a temptation the latter offers!

It really doesn’t matter what we do. Such times are likely completely out of our control. We are there in that darkness. We are there, isolated, sick with self-desolation.

Then sometime, through no action of our own, the darkness begins to slightly clear giving us a reprieve, a chance to glimpse, even if briefly, what is in the darkness with us.

It is there we find God feeling everything we feel. We find God, with eyes of sorrow and compassion for our suffering, looking at us, holding on to us even when we cannot or will not feel the Divine embrace. In this time I now pray:

Cross:

If I hope for the underworld as my dwelling, lay out my bed in darkness, I’ve called corruption “my father,” the worm, “my mother and sister.” Where then is my hope? My hope– who can see it? Will they go down with me to the underworld; will we descend together to the dust? (Job 17:13-16 CEB)

Invitatory Bead:

Thank God the stars are set beyond my power,
If I must travail in a night of wrath,
Thank God my tears will never vex a moth,
Nor any curse of mine cut down a flower

G. K. Chesterton

Cruciform Beads:

If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me; the light will become night around me,” even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you! Nighttime would shine bright as day, because darkness is the same as light to you! (Ps. 139:11-12 CEB)

Weeks Beads:

Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” (Matt. 28:20 CEB)

Benedictory Bead:

Lord’s Prayer

Cross:

My crucified and risen Savior,
With your loving  and open heart help me in my darkness,
to know that you are there.
Forgive me O merciful one when I sink into my weakness
and allow personal pity have power over hope.
Lord nothing I go through do I go alone.
You are following in my footsteps.
Take me from the dark.
Hear me now O lord.
Amen

Praying When you Cannot Pray

20141213_231329000_iOSToday is a very hard day. It is a day filled with a stunned stumble, an unsureness of what is next or even why is there a next. Funny how these things can happen to us. We can seeming be on the joyful swing of life and then, snap, something breaks.

I wish I knew what broke, but I don’t. I remember the surge of emotion, the overwhelming pressure of an off-guard assault and the response that came to quickly, first as a defense and then, the snap.

I was no longer standing in my house, in my hallway. I was 50 years ago facing another’s anger that I did not understand. I wanted to run and hide, but to late, the beating came anyway. I was standing once again being told I was the reason for her problem. I was my fault. The voice cut and something inside broke. It just broke, and I don’t know what to do.

Yes, something finally broke, I do not know if it can be fixed. The pain, a dull, pulsing presence that will not be ignored. The only way to lessen its impact is to replace it, distract it, with another pain or discomfort. There is the escape of sleep, but the broken whatever is waiting, laughing, mocking as soon as I wake up.

I should pray, but I cannot. I am so embarrassed that I broke this easily. Last night, I did not want God to touch it. In the small hours of the morning, I did not want God to be around me. Such a horrid, numbing mind to have. I did not want God. This too has its own agony.

So, here I am, a supposed spiritual leader, broken, filled with thoughts of failure and apathy. What will I do. My mind will not pray. So I turn to my hands, to my beads.

The Cross:

The heart feels pain even in laughter, and in the end, joy turns to sorrow. (Prov. 14:13 CEB)

Invitatory Bead

In my distress I cried out to the LORD; I cried out to my God. God heard my voice from his temple; my cry for help reached his ears. (2 Sam. 22:7 CEB)

Cruciform Beads

My whole body is completely terrified! But you, LORD! How long will this last? Come back to me, LORD! Deliver me! Save me for the sake of your faithful love!
(Ps. 6:3-4 CEB)

Weeks Beads

“I have faith; help my lack of faith!” (Mk. 9:24 CEB)

Benedictory Bead

The Lord’s Prayer

Cross

I’m not asking that you take them out of this world but that you keep them safe from the evil one. They don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. I made myself holy on their behalf so that they also would be made holy in the truth. “I’m not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. (Jn. 17:15-20 CEB)

May the beads and this prayer help with what has broken in me, and the thoughts and specters stop and I can patiently embrace the pain, without loosing my compassion.

Anglican Rosary for Hurricane Irma

Cross:
Gracious God, you the LORD rule! You are robed in majesty—You are robed, clothed with strength. Yes, he set the world firmly in place; it won’t be shaken. Your throne is set firm for a very long time. You are eternal!
LORD, the floods have raised up– the floods have raised up their voices; the floods raise up a roar! But mightier than the sound of much water, mightier than the sea’s waves, mighty on high is the LORD! (Ps. 93:1-4 CEB)
No place is safer than being near to your heart oh God.

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Invitatory Bead: (taken from GuidePosts website- Rick HamlinPosted in Power of Prayer, Oct 29, 2012)

I pray for the safety of those in low-lying areas and the wisdom of our leaders who must make decisions like whom to evacuate and when to close down roads and bridges. I pray for those whose electricity lines are threatened and those who lose power.
I pray for the rescue workers who are on call during a storm and the people who have left their houses, crowding into schools and churches, calling on the good will of their neighbors. I pray there is enough food and water and batteries and flashlights and gas. I pray that roofs hold and sump pumps work. And I pray for peace for all those with frayed nerves. I pray for your grace and mercy.
*I pray people know, “No place is safer than being near to your heart, Oh God.”

Cruciform Beads:
But he got up and gave orders to the wind and the violent waves. The storm died down and it was calm. (Lk. 8:24 CEB)

Weeks Beads:
Because he will shelter me in his own dwelling during troubling times; he will hide me in a secret place in his own tent; he will set me up high, safe on a rock. (Ps. 27:5 CEB)
Or
But let all who take refuge in you celebrate. Let them sing out loud forever! Protect them so that all who love your name can rejoice in you. (Ps. 5:11 CEB)

Benedictory Bead:

Lord’s Prayer

Cross:

“May God give you…For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.”

Irish Blessing