This week's 'thought' comes to you in the form of a poem/prayer. It was one youth's entry for "Inspirational Writing" at the 2014 IFCA National Youth Conference. It's author is Casey VanderStel of Caledonia, WI, and is taken from, "VOICE - An Independent Church Journal" (May/June 2015).
As you will see, she writes with keen insight, discernment and wisdom considering the fact that she appears, from her picture, to be of High School or early college age at best. Yet despite her youth she possesses a good degree of self-understanding and expresses it with ample writing skills. I couldn't stop reading it once I started. I trust you will find it spiritually insightful and engaging as well. Enjoy.
A Selfish Prayer
"My God, my God, why have I forsaken You? My own spotlight drowns out Your stars. I choose my own ways over everything You are.
My God, I have forgotten the sound of Your voice, because my own always gets in the way.
My God, sometimes I catch myself answering my own prayers when I pray. But this is my honest prayer, and it hurts to tell the truth... I struggle to trust You and don't always love You. The days I get it right are far too few. And I cringe to think of what people see when they look for You inside of me.
My God, I've forged Your signature on a beautiful blueprint I've drawn up for my life, and keep it tucked inside my Bible, hoping You can take a hint.
My God, my God, why have I forsaken You? My fears have grown their own ugly heads and they are all I can see when I look to heaven. But I've perfected my Sunday smile and become a walking contradiction, a poster child hypocrite, everything I've always hated.
I steal the praise that is meant for You. I am so reluctant to fall on my knees. When I'm honest, my God, You are not everything to me.
Does it break Your heart when I don't tell them I know You? They mock Your Christians and I don't tell them I follow You. They defile Your Name and I don't tell them I love You. You are my travel God. I keep you in my glove compartment, with the packets of stale ketchup, between old napkins and owners manuals, and I pull You out whenever my engine stalls.
My God, I need You every hour, but I only want You every Sunday.
My God, sometimes I'm not even talking to You when I pray.
You come in a solid second. You're my plan B. You're only my first choice if You're the only choice I see. Every time I come to worship You I end up thinking only of me. My God, I am nothing but a selfish pray-er.
My God, my God, why have I forsaken You? You fill my life with beauty and grace, but still I don't seek Your face. You know the number of my days, but I'm still chasing my own ways.
And that is the ultimate beauty and the ultimate tragedy -- when I stop loving You, You keep loving me. I've spent enough time stuffing You in my sock drawer and leaving You outside the door to know this, and yes, You're not just an object I can lose, Lord, but I'm so wrapped up in my own dreams I've forgotten the fact that You control my destiny.
I don't hate You, but I don't love You like I should. I don't ignore You, but I don't trust You like I could. You'd think I'd know how to listen and live by now, but I still wake up without You on my mind. And I always say I'll fix myself some other time.
My God, my God, why have I forsaken You? You are the voice I've replaced with empty space. And the sounds of those clamoring to take your place sound like a siren song I'm too weak to resist after so long. I'm sorry.
I have met a god called Busyness, and he runs me till I am empty.
I have met a god called Shame, and he has me pinned under the sacrifices I bring.
I have met a god called Pride, and she says I'm doing just fine.
I have met a god called Apathy, and he tells me I don't have to do a thing.
I have met a god called Selfishness, and she looks a lot like me. She looks a lot like me.
My God, my God, I have been my own god for far too long.
Father, forgive me, for I know exactly what I've been doing."
Most of us, I am sure, could see a little bit of ourselves in some of her soul-revealing confessions. It is refreshing to read such an honest and transparent prayer. It even prompts us to ask forgiveness for such things as well. May it be so.
Yours in the Gospel, Pastor Jeff