Sunday, July 27, 2008

praying for dependence

In the last 60 days I have sold practically everything I own. House, cars, furniture, tv's, dishes, linens, and toys. As we prepare to move as missionaries to Guatemala, one simple blessing I was not anticipating was my "dependence relationship" with God to burst through the roof. While my amount of gray hair has probably doubled in the last 2
months, so has my dependence, love, and longing for Jesus.

A few weeks ago at deepStream we studied Proverbs 30:8-9. This has got to be the most radical, profound prayer I have ever heard. Sadly, I have read this passage many times before only to pass through one ear and out the other. At first glance, it doesn't seem so radical.

But if you meditate on this prayer, or even better, if you're willing to pray it for yourself, there's a good chance it will conflict with much you've been taught. It opposes many of the very things that motivate us, and it cuts to the heart of western culture.

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much
and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

Have you ever prayed anything so bizarre, so counter-cultural? Most of us have prayed "give us this day, our daily bread..." but consider the additional meaning that God gives us in this passage above. As I read it, I hear the author saying: God, please do not make me wealthy. Don't give me too much money. I don't want to be set for life! I don't want financial security...for I may forget about you or begin living as if I don't need you!

The piercing truth of this passage is that a state of dependence on God is the most healthy way to live. The author of this proverb knows that if he is dependent on God, his faith will remain strong, and real. And if he has too much money (security), his dependence on God declines in direct proportion. With financial security, God may still be something he "believes in", but no longer something he can't live without.

In balancing out his prayer, the writer also asks not to be poor, for poverty brings temptations of its own. This is certainly the side of the prayer that most of us are comfortable with - its the prayer to not be wealthy that messes with us! We should all be challenged to measure our willingness to pray this prayer. Perhaps by considering our response, we can get a fair indicator of our true priorities.

Do I "need" you God? Do I actually "depend" on you to get by? If I did, would I be closer to you? Because I'll do anything to be closer to you. God, please do whatever you need to do to help me depend on you. Without you - without real faith and dependence on you - I am empty.