When we say "God with us", we are speaking of the present at all times. We are not concerned with the "ought tos" of the past or the "what ifs" of the future.
If my relationship with Jesus is as important as I say it is, I imagine a moment of prayer in which I sit with Him to discuss our relationship.
Today my heart and mind are tired and weary from waiting. I am worn out from hoping and longing. Yet I must continue. These are my feelings, but my feelings do not determine my faith and confidence in God. While I am weary and tired, I have to maintain desire for more of Christ. I have to continue to desire for God's action and presence. If I cannot do this, I am utterly lost.
When my desire to pray is lacking, I have to pray for the desire to pray. If God gives desire to the human heart, and He gives if we ask according to His will, then I have to ask for more desire in the dry and weary places.
E.M. Bounds wrote, "Prayer is the oral expression of desire...the deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer. Without desire, prayer is meaningless mumble of words."
When that desire runs out, I have to pray and ask for more. I never fully arrive, and I certainly need more and more of Christ in my understanding, my looking, my speaking, my thinking.
It has been since June that I resigned just after starting this journal. Journals have legs to walk with you through various journeys and seasons. Journals have backs and hearts to carry a great deal of things so you do not have to. This journal is a gift from a friend I have not seen or spoken with in many years. It was a random gift which arrived just before an enormous life change I did not foresee at the time. This journal came to me from a friend who has always been a strong encouragement to "Keep writing. Always keep writing." This journal came from this friend just before a season where it would have been easy to cease writing.
This journal has carried a lot of the things I never wanted to carry. If I could only displace those thoughts and processes on the back and heart of this journal, I could get through days, which would have been otherwise very discouraging and debilitating.
This journal contains the weak prayers of limping through the process of learning to ask God 'what' instead of 'why'. I rarely get answers to 'why' questions, but I have learned to look at any and all circumstances asking, "God, what are you doing in me through this?"
This journal contains notes for interviews come and gone for positions I thought were great, if not perfect, but clearly not where God was guiding and calling me.
This journal contains notes for sermons along the way for beloved groups who, unaware to them, gave shock paddles to my heart by giving me opportunities to do what I love in a season when my heart was weak and confused for the future.
This journal has been able to carry the promise of prayer my heart made for the new year. It proves that the challenge remains. It is written in ink after all.
This journal, #38, passes a baton to #39 with promise and hope attached. It uses the discouragement and healing as a springboard to speak to my heart, "You are a better leader, husband, and father than you were before we began walking together, but more importantly, you are closer to the heart of Jesus than you were before we met."
Several years ago I quit making resolutions or new years goals. I accepted, then, a challenge to choose only a word for the year. "One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live or what you want to achieve by the end of 2015. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long. It will take hard work, and will require intentionality and commitment. But if you let it, your word will shape you and your year. It will guide your decisions and help you grow.”
This year my word is: PRAYER.
While I would say I am a man of God's Word, I want to be more of a man of prayer. Prayer is not an element of my relationship with God, it IS my relationship with God. I have to realize my relationship is dependent upon communication and time together.
If I wrote my autobiography, someone could read it inside and out, over and over again. They could highlight important parts about my story and things that mater a great deal to me. But that person does not know me. That person and I have no relationship. We have never sat and spoken together.
Much like this, I can study God's Word inside and out, over and over again. I can highlight important parts and dedicate years and whole college degrees to studying things very important to God. But I could do all of this and still not know God. I do not have a relationship. I have not sat and spoken with Him.
I am a man of God's Word and a man after God's heart, but I want to be MORE of a man of prayer than I have been before. I want to be more of a man of prayer at the end of 2015 than I am right now. I want to know Him more intimately. I want to be terribly close to His heart, and that will only come as we sit and speak together with more intentionality and frequency.