Some years ago when I dedicated myself to a life of daily prayer and devotion, after a time, I became quite discouraged. This may seem an odd admission to Christians who think such a discipline should only yield peace and understanding. I must admit, I too was surprised by such a reaction. I did not foresee it and I did not know at first how to respond to it. But I had set myself upon a path I intended to pursue until I had a good answer. I did not dare attempt to bargain with God. I knew better. Impatience could not improve my dilemma.
My conundrum was simple. Each time I prayed, each time I read something true, I began to see the error of my ways. I realized I had become a child of this world and had been on a path of perfecting it. I realized I was not a particularly good person, that my motives were at least, wrong, and at times, mal intended and manipulative. This realization came up against the very firm belief I was a good person, the idea I was no different than any other person with whom I was acquainted. This whole scenario played out like a movie in my head, the ending of which I had yet to see. But doesn’t God wish to blow our ideas to bits, to reconcile the plot for an ending He writes?
The hard reality of facing myself as I was became my everyday silent reel. Some days I saw my good and others I saw the bad. Each with pitfalls, the good elicited pride and my error rejected God’s forgiveness. Challenged by my thought, the only real choice I had in the matter was to keep praying and reading. I could not give up. Such a problem left unsolved would not serve my faith or the thought God wished me to get to the other side of this problem, to see it His way. I thought of going it alone but this too seemed of little value in furthering my way to an answer. I knew I had to keep meeting God in the space where it was just Him and me in my Bethel (my place to meet God).
Facing God meant honesty. There is no other way to be in His presence. I realized God wanted nothing between us, neither my pride or shame or desire to measure up. This was not God’s frame for judging me and could not become mine. When I realized this was His working in me, His way of delivering me from my human preconceptions, I became encouraged and hopeful to discover what He had in store.
My rest came in the revelation God desired me to strive to become like Him as best as He could lead me toward it, as best as I could submit, to become merciful and forgiving and loving. If I was hard on myself, it gave way toward the joy and peace I sought.
I remain on this road, still seeking Him.