By Elizabeth Prata
I’d written on Twitter the other day the following. There are character limits on Twitter. So I’d like to expand on it here.
I said- “I don’t like what’s happening in the US right now, but I believe it is ‘good.’ In the same way that what happened to Job was ‘good’ or to Tyre, even tho they were bad events, the Lord purposed them, and He is Good, everything He does is GOOD. ‘may the name of the Lord be praised.’ ”
The last sentence is a quote from Job 1:21b where Job recounts his woes but ends with a praise to the Lord. Even in calamity we praise Him. Especially in calamity, we praise Him!
I’m reading the prayer devotional Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans by Robert Elmer. Here was the prayer from yesterday-
THE COMMANDER AND HEARER OF PRAYER You who commands and hears prayer! You who helps your people to pray! Pour out the spirit of grace and supplication, that your throne of grace may be surrounded by supplicants, that there may be a great flocking to the mercy seat, and grace may be imparted abundantly to your own glory, through Jesus Christ the high priest, who is passed into the heavens, and is at your right hand forever. Amen. —Nathaniel Vincent (1639?-1697).
Visualizing the throngs around the throne comforted me. In calamity such as we are experiencing first with a global pandemic, then a physical lockdown, and now with mayhem and riots, I envision throngs of virtual supplicants sending prayers to the throne. It is a truism that when we’re comfortable, happy, and satisfied, our prayers tend to slow down, be less fervent, or dissipate altogether. When the rod is extended and we are constricted and constrained in some way, we begin the child’s plea to Father for ease, answers, help.
The Lord is due His worship. He is due His acknowledgement that He is the only One to answer prayer. He is due His exaltation on the throne. He is worthy to be praised in all and every circumstance as Job showed us.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 57:10).
But when His children wander, He may chastise and discipline in order to correct. (For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. (Hebrews 12:6)
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
When correction happens, we tend to pray and praise more. If we envision the prayers of the saints rising like like incense (Revelation 5:8) and picture them wafting around the throne, the Lord is exalted for having been appealed-to and praised. This is one of the GOODs that happen even when things seem bad.
Father, I bless thy gentle hand;
How kind was thy chastising rod,
That forced my conscience to a stand,
And brought my wand’ring soul to God!
(Isaac Watts Hymn “Psalm 119: The Last Part”)
May more saints fall to their knees, me included, praising Him for His common graces, still flowing from the throne even in times like these, and for His corrections, judgments, and plans. God is GOOD, the only good, and He is worthy to be praised.