I Shall Not Want

I came across Audrey Assad’s song I Shall Not Want this week. I’m not a big sharer of videos and other multimedia; I’m kind of anti-cool.  But, I’m going to do it today anyway because I love the song that much.  The video is simple;  her singing and playing the piano. That’s it.  No fancy bells or whistles.

Fair warnings:  the song is a tad slow, which I love for reflecting, but is not everyone’s cup of tea.

The lyrics of her song are what grabbed me,  and I’ve listened to (and let’s be honest, sang along with) the song in my iPod on repeat all day today.

They are both my hope and my prayer for my life right now.  The timing of this discovery was particularly poignant as it fits right in with what I’ve been reading in Luke.

Luke pierced my heart earlier this week. I can’t let it go. I was so shocked by Jesus’ zinger about how much God will give the Spirit to those who ask.  The assumption here being that when we pray what we seek is no less than God.

I suddenly also felt grieved for God.  How painful and hurtful must it be when we humans abuse prayer.  When we twist it into seeking our own ends rather than God.  Imagine if our friends treated us this way.  I don’t think we’d count them as our friends for very long.  Yet God is a patient God.

I am challenged to think more seriously about how I pray.  I’ve thought of prayer as relationship building for a long time, so what I’m experiencing isn’t new.  I’m still struggling with how to quantify it.  Maybe it’s an invitation to something spiraling deeper.  Maybe it’s more experiential understanding God’s goodness.  Somehow I’m feeling God’s goodness in my gut and in my bones.

And it’s a goodness that isn’t rooted as much in God satisfying my agenda, as much as I am learning to become satisfied with just God.  That sounds so churchy and weird to say.  But, I don’t have a better way to describe it.  I feel like I’m sampling God’s goodness.

I fear those things that get in the way.  Assad mentions my main ones:  the love of my own comfort, the fear of being lonely, the fear of having nothing, the fear of trials.    I don’t think deliverance always means that God evacuates me from my circumstances and crazy; sometimes deliverance means work on my part — and that in itself is still God delivering me when I’m able to do that.  For me, this week, I’m taking seriously those things that get in my way with God. I’ve been picking at those fears and desires that start making me seek my own agenda rather than God’s kingdom.  I see them as so much more destructive now, and not so innocuous as I once did.

I think there’s something to Assad’s point that as we taste God’s goodness, we shall not want. I’m reminded of Jesus in the temptation scene in the Gospels.  After 40 days in the desert, Jesus was tempted by the invitation to turn stones into bread.  His response to the temptation is to say that humans don’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God.  I don’t live just by immediate needs.  I’m sustained by God’s activity in the world – not by my self-sustaining actions. This breath, this keystroke, is a gift.

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