A Prayer in Time of Trial

Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I am sunk into the depths and there is no foothold to be found anywhere. I’m nearly worn out with calling for help. My throat is hoarse and my eyes fail me in looking for you. Scorn has broken my heart, and there is no one to grieve with me. Save me, O God. Make haste.

Lord, I did not ask for this present time of trial. Indeed, so far am I from being a disciple of yours that I reject this grace, and strive to pull myself out from under its awful weight. I do this to my own hurt, I know, but the pain of it is so unbearable that almost any other pain is more endurable than this.

The loss here is all around me. I stand in a blighted field that stretches beyond the horizon. I see no one else beside me. Gone is the unity that once was. Gone all the picture of the world that I once had. Gone the future for which I once dreamed. Gone the safety and security of my little ones, those so dear to my heart. Truly the locusts have come and devoured all that lives. And I fear lest all that I am, and have, and once was, will be swallowed up in this dessicated death.

I know that I should view this differently. I know that I should not trust my human senses and reasonings and intuitions to give me an accurate view of what is truly real here in this mean time. I know that I should believe that this is the loving correction of an utterly loving Father, and that this now is a not yet which works my salvation. But my faith fails me. The prayers I pray are prayed with grit-teeth resolution that to fail to pray would only invite more testing. But they are a rearguard action at best, from a heart devoid of piety because of the cacophony of the crunching and screeching which this soul-pressing produces.

I want to move beyond this myopic self-preservation. I want to trust that this time of straitening is suffused with divine love. I want to pray better. I want, I think, to be a disciple. But this pain is so great, and my weaknesses greater still. I am a prodigal, come to himself, but unable to rise and return to the Father. I am in darkness and do not know my way.

But you tell me that your grace is made perfect in weakness. Then you must perfect it in me. I do not know how to do this. I do not know how and for what I ought pray. I find myself unwilling to accept your providence of the day and hour and minute. But this is not the self I want to be.

I want to be your child. But the waters have come up to my neck and there is no foothold to be found anywhere. Save me, O my God. I need you. Help me. Make speed. Hasten.

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