From Praying the Names of God Week Fourteen, Day Three
What better word than "rock" to represent God's permanence, protection, and enduring faithfulness? When you pray to the Lord your Rock, you are praying to the God who can always be counted on. His purposes and plans remain firm throughout history. The New Testament identifies Jesus as the spiritual rock that accompanied the Israelites during their long journey through the desert. He is also the stone the builders rejected but that has become the cornerstone of God's church.
Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war
my fingers for battle. (Psalm 144:1)
PRAYING THE NAME
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore. (Psalm 125:1-2)
Reflect On: Psalm 125:1-2
Praise God: For his reliability and fidelity.
Offer Thanks: For the ways God has steadied you in fearful times.
Confess: Your tendency to trust in circumstances rather than in God.
Ask God: To help you exchange your fear for his peace.
As I write, the skies are a sullen gray, threatening snow. Several days of rain have stripped all but the most stubborn trees, readying them for winter's onslaught. This is Grand Rapids, a city in southwestern Michigan that is the weather opposite of Tucson, Arizona, a 360-sunny-days-a-year kind of town, with majestic mountains surrounding it like the encircling arms of God. But it wasn't until I moved from Tucson to Grand Rapids, a city encircled not by mountains but by clouds, that the psalmist's words came home to me.
Each week I join with a handful of women committed to supporting each other spiritually. A few years ago, one of them asked for prayers for her college-bound son. We asked God to supply the best school for him. Our prayers were dogged. We prayed for several months, through various applications and school visits until the best school finally emerged—an exclusive college with an unusual approach to tuition. Every admitted student received a full-tuition scholarship. The catch was getting admitted. Though Nick had only the slimmest chance, we kept on praying. When the acceptance letter arrived, Sandy was ecstatic, and we were heartened by this obvious answer to prayer.
At the end of the summer of 2001, my friend dropped her son off in downtown Manhattan to attend Cooper Union. Sandy had been glad that this college would offer Nick a larger window on the world, never dreaming just how large that window would become. It wasn't long after the term started when Nick looked out his dorm window and saw smoke billowing from the collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. Nick's school was less than two miles from the site of what has become the worst terrorist attack in American history.
In the days and weeks that followed, I watched my friend for signs of hysteria. But there were none. While other parents were making knee-jerk comments about withdrawing their children from colleges in exotic locations like Iowa and Indiana, anxious to have them close, Sandy felt fine about Nick staying put in Manhattan. It would have been easy to give in to the contagion of fear that characterized the country at that time. Nobody would have blamed her if she had tried to haul her son home. But Sandy didn't even seem tempted. Believing that God had led Nick to New York for a purpose gave her the kind of peace that only God can create. Watching my friend respond to terror with trust has convinced me that whether we live in New York, Grand Rapids, Tucson, or lands beyond, it is still true that the Lord surrounds his people. He encircles us with his faithfulness just as the mountains surround Jerusalem.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback. Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.