We all have that period in our lives that the Lord feels so far away, a million miles or more as Don Moen puts it. We try to do devotions and we find the Word; the eternal word, to be more boring than any other book we ever came across. Sometimes we cannot explain why, other times it is because of unanswered prayers, inability to understand the book/letter we are reading among others.
I have been there, and I write this because I am still a work in progress in this area.
I have been reading the book of Psalms for the last two months. I know someone may wonder why I am taking so long on such a simple and captivating poetic collection. Another may think that I am so deep that I reflect line by line thereby taking so long. You will know why by the end of this article.
I write to share few reflections I have gotten in my toilsome journey of Psalms. My main focus is on Psalms 119. The book is divided into twenty two (22) stanzas of eight (8) verses each. Although the longest chapter in the Bible and even longer than some of the letters, the Chapter celebrates the Word of God as the perfect guide for life. (selah)
I have been admiring King David ever since I got born again, and He is the first person I want to see when I get to heaven (besides the Lord). One day I saw in 119: 103 that He considered the Word “sweeter than the honeycomb”. I imagined that David had no other delight apart from the Word, but also that He never ever struggled with reading and meditating on it. I also saw in Psa. 42:5 &11 how he would preach to himself when downcast with words like “why are you downcast oh my soul…hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God”. In 43:4 He refers to God as “my exceeding Joy”. I wondered in my life whether I would ever get there.
In my journey of Psalms 119 however, I have learnt that David, just like Elijah (James 5:17) was a man like us, yet seems to have had the struggles we’re having and that is why He would make various kinds of prayers in each stanza e.g.
i) That God may give him ability to enjoy His word (vs 18)
ii) That God may teach him the Word (vs. 12, 27, 33, 34, 35, 36, 68, 108, 124, 135)
iii) That God may give him understanding to learn the commandments (vs. 73, 125,144)
Iv) That God may grace and give him the strength to seek and keep His word (vs. 60, 62, 88, 147, 148, 164, 169)
It also dawned on me that he would also ‘quarrel’ the Lord. In Psalm 13: 1-4, He asks God those questions we do when answers delay: How long will you hide your face from me, how long should my enemies triumph over me? Elijah too at some point asked the Lord to take away His life since he had been through a lot.
My conclusion is that it is normal to go through highs and lows in our devotions. Pray these Psalms in low seasons and ask God to restore your Spiritual Passion. He is able, and these verses tell us that He helps us in such times and He doesn’t take offense when we are in such a period. Psa. 73:26 reminds us that though our strength (even that of devotions) may fail, God is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever.
I invite us to hereby consider things we can do in such times to avoid stagnating in this valley:
1. Devotions is not an Any Other Business part of the day. It is an essential guide to our day (vs. 105). We can plan for devotions the same way we plan for other important tasks in our lives. Devotions should be done in that hour that we are most productive in the day, for that is when we will most likely internalize and pray about it.
2. Chose a book/letter and read it to the end. Check the background setting for easy understanding and contextual relevant. The background checks are easily available online just be the click of a button.
3. Sometimes we feel bored by the Word because we have stayed in a particular book for centuries. If this is you, take a break from such a book for a day or two (this can be through reading other books in the Bible or choosing to listen to sermons) then come back. You will easily pick up.
4. Find an accountability partner. Your spouse or a close friend who has a say in your life will be very helpful in this.
5. Finally and most importantly, strengthen yourself in the Lord. David, even in the hardest of times like in Psalms 13 above, He would still remind Him that He has no other besides the Lord. He says that the Lord has (previously maybe) dealt bountifully with him and therefore he won’t let the momentary troubles undo this.
#It is Possible
#He is our strength and portion forever