A Prayer About Our Anxieties and God's Joy
Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:17-19
Heavenly Father, as much as I’d love for you to lift me right out of a couple of anxiety producing scenarios, you seem to have another plan in mind. So if you’ll get more glory by keeping me right where I am, so be it. But please, do for me what you did for the Psalmist. Come stabilize my slipping feet with your unfailing love. Make my eternal standing in grace a present reality, or I might lace up my running shoes and head out for my version of Tarshish (Jonah 1).
Console me in my great anxiety with your joy-producing presence. Unlike the Psalmist, I’m not facing “the silence of death,” by the hands of my enemies. My situation feels more like the collision of limitless needs to be met in a limited time frame with limited resources—especially emotional resources. When I get emotionally drained, Father, I tend to make bad choices… but you already know that…
I try to micromanage the unmanageable, and that never works out very well for me, never. I start acting like the 4th member of the Trinity. In the absence of soul delight I ramp up my duty quota. I listen less, talk faster and try harder. My body may be in the house but my soul is somewhere hiking in the Swiss Alps. People would rather be around the mumps than me, when I’m emotionally empty.
That’s why I need your joy, Father, for your joy is my strength. My lack of joy is my bane and drain. “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). I need to hear your consoling laugher. I need your invigorating liberating felicity on my piece of the earth as it is in your glorious heaven. I don’t need you to tell me “Everything’s going to be alright.” I theologically know and honestly believe that. I am really convinced, “stoked” and thrilled about our coming life in the new heaven and new earth. It’s the next “fifteen minutes” that have me worked up.
To know you are with me, in joy and for me, with joy, will be enough. And be with my friends who join me in this prayer today—those who have different stories but offer the same cry. Together we look to Jesus, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross that we might be endeared to you forever. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ great and gracious name.