Faith is a fickle thing. There are moments in our dealings with God that the conversation is fertile and believing instinctive; and others when the seed of faith shrivels in the hand. There are moments when intimate language flows and seasons when it feels like heaven’s doors are bolted — ‘the Great Wizard’ is out.
Experience tells me that such fickleness is standard. It’s par for the course in believing. Yet reading through the psalms this past month, I come away with this sense: while faith may be capricious, God is not.
I cannot claim to understand this God. But in both the acclamations and accusations of the psalmists, there is something consistent about God’s being that holds when life, and even faith, fails.
In preparing prayers yesterday for another occasion, I came across these familiar words from Frederick Ohler. Aspirational perhaps. Regardless, there is something about them that resonates today.
AWE – FUL
Great and holy God
awe and reverence
fear and trembling
do not come easily to us
for we are not
Old Testament Jews
or sensitive enough.
for slouching in Your presence
with little expectation
and less awe
than we would eagerly give a visiting dignitary.
neither Jehovah nor a buddy—
neither “the Great and Powerful Oz”
nor “the man upstairs.”
to want what we need …
and may the altar of our hearts tremble with delight at
Frederick Ohler, Better Than Nice and Other Unconventional Prayers, Louisville, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989.