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The Welcome Mat

Chris at Red Rock Canyon

Lately, I've been studying on prayer and meditating on the various passages. One thing I've noticed is that there are so many different types of prayers scattered throughout the Bible. They are not all made in distress. Some are purely giving thanks. They range in content based on the pray-er's unique situation. But this morning, I found myself reading Solomon's prayer as he completed the building of the temple. The prayer he offered as he dedicated the structure to God was beautiful. God immediately filled the temple with His glory, so He must have been pleased!

But there was this one little phrase that hung in my thoughts. The entire prayer is worth the read as it is a heartfelt display of King Solomon. So, take a minute to check out 2 Chronicles 6 because it'll give you a lot of food for thought!

Verse 29 is the one that caught my heart as I was reading this passage today. In the verses preceding this one, Solomon talks about all sorts of struggles, challenges, or situations that people might go through. He listed quite a few problems that were common in their day, including famine, pestilence, mildew, grasshoppers or locusts, enemies overtaking cities, and any sickness that might occur. Solomon was asking God to hear his people's requests, no matter what. This little phrase, though, in verse 29, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief. 

I guess it stood out because grief can be such a big part of the caregiving experience. It is different for everyone, and it can be felt in so many different ways. There is a grief that is so deep there are no words to describe it. But it's not like we can "bury" our loved ones and move on, such as when they die. Yet for many of us, we watch our parents or elderly loved ones fade away from us, slowly over time. That's a torturous grief. There is also a living grief, such as with my son. He is technically still here - still alive, but the son I knew doesn't exist anymore. The grief just continues day after day.

Christian circles don't really know what to do with it, yet I see Solomon welcoming grieving believers into the temple, and allowing them to lift their hands to God in prayer. We are welcome at the foot of the cross, at the foot of God's throne. He doesn't tell us we must leave our grief outside before coming to Him in prayer. Our whole being, body, soul, and spirit is welcome. As caregivers, we have a safe place in God. He won't condemn us or shake His head in disbelief because He doesn't understand. 

Solomon goes on to ask God to answer their prayers and says, You know the hearts of the sons of men. He then pleads for God to help those who are praying learn to fear God and walk in His ways. He didn't even pray for healing, for the grief to be removed, or for the problem to be relieved in any way. He just prayed that "we" would know God better. I know that in my grief, I've learned to trust God more, call on Him more frequently, and learned a new level of intimacy with Him that I've never known before.

Today, I will bring it all to Him once again, knowing that He wants my whole heart - not just the parts I perceive to be "good." I'll give Him my grief and let Him carry it and me. My meditation will be on how great God is and how thankful I am that His welcome mat includes all of me - all of you! Will you join me on God's welcome mat today as we lay our hearts out before Him?


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