Friday, February 04, 2011

Help My Unbelief

"17But they continued to sin against Him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High. 18They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. 19They spoke against God, saying 'Can God spread a table in the desert? 20When He struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can He also give us food? Can He supply meat for His people?'" Psalm 78:17-20

For the last year or so I feel as if I've been living in sort of a desert period. God saw fit to take away a wonderful job and send me to live under my parents roof once more. Since that time I've searched for a job in youth ministry but was unable to find one. On top of that, the population of the church I volunteer for consists of married couples and youth. I have felt extremely lonely and have often despaired of finding a friend my age or ever finding a husband. Eventually, I decided to pursue teaching and I pray that this will not only open up job opportunities but also a new field of ministry. Yet anxiety grips me constantly. It was so bad one night last week that I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I've had since college. Worry about exams, substitute teaching, money, ever finding a permanent job, marriage, etc, etc, consumed me so that I was physically affected. It was the first time such an attack had happened so abruptly and violently. By God's grace I was able to calm down and get some sleep, but those thoughts continue to haunt me.

But as I was reading Psalms this morning, this passage all but shouted at me from the page. Each phase of Israel's unfaithful complaining reminded me of something in my own life. As Israel had despaired of finding water in the desert, I despaired of finding a good friend. Yet, just as God brought His beloved people water from a rock, He brought me a friend in one of the young married women of the church. And though I fear the day when she and her husband might leave to join the military, she is an example of God's mercy and faithfulness to me. So rather than say like Israel, "Well, you brought me a friend but I don't trust you to help me find a job or a husband in suburbia where everyone is already married" (verses 19-20) I should be reminding myself that He is not only good but sovereign, that if He was gracious enough to provide a friend for me He can provide all these other things that I need... and that His plans are what's best for me (Romans 8:28).

I guess the hard thing is realizing that what I want may not be God's best for me. That is way my new prayer is for God to help my unbelief. I know that He is good and can do all things, but I need help to believe just like the father of the sick boy (Mark 9:24). And that's one thing I am certain He will give me.

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