When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. Psalm 73:21-23 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, as many times as I’ve read and prayed, taught and preached Psalm 73, I’m not sure I’ve ever related to Asaph’s anguish more than I do today. I am grieved and heading towards bitterness, feeling beastly and quite capable of thinking senseless, unhelpful thoughts. I pray for myself and others sitting it stories that make our heads spin and our hearts sink.
Father of mercy and God of all comfort…
Show us how to handle deep disappointment and hurt, as redemptively as possible.
Show us the difference between appropriate anger and destructive rage.
Show us how to pray down the gospel, lest we try to call down fire.
Show us how to hope when we want to hurl something.
Show us how to keep from importing old wounds into a new wound.
Show us how to listen to you quietly, 100 times more than we launch our opinions.
Show us how to grieve and lament, and not gossip and mock.
Show us the difference between worldly sadness and godly sorrow.
Show us what the gospel looks like in stories that seem to utterly contradict it.
Show us how to be still, and know that you are God.
Father, let us palpably feel the grasp of grace right now. You are guiding us in and through the valley of the shadow of death, and you will bring glory to yourself in the most heart wrecking of stories. Who do we have in heaven, or on earth, but you? Being with you is what we need more than anything else, in the coming hours and days, weeks and months. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.