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Blog posts July 2017

July 24, 2017 "Writer's Block"

July 24, 2017 “Writer’s Block”

Writers live in fear of one thing—writer’s block!  There’s no explaining it.  It simply comes out of the blue.  It’s an experience of feeling as though no words will flow; no thoughts will gel.  You’ve seen it portrayed on movie screens—the writer sitting in front of an ancient typewriter, inserting page after page, starting over again and again and again with no intelligible stories coming to fruition.

In our lives of faith we often experience a similar kind of phenomenon.  We sometimes refer to it as a dry well. Many of us grew up without benefit of city water systems.  Instead we had to drop a bucket attached to a pulley system into the well with the hopes of filling it with water which we would then wind up for use in our homes.  But imagine the consternation if one day we dropped in the bucket only to discover that the well had dried up—no water to draw, nothing to replenish our dry, parched throats.

The Psalmist was good in calling out to God in such times of despair.  The Psalmist recognized his dependence upon God, but sometimes he felt as though God were far away.  Sometimes he would plead with God and plead with God to be present in whatever set of circumstances had come his way. 

There was, however, another part of the Psalmist’s prayer.  The Psalmist would be begin his prayer with complaint.  He would go so far as to list REASONS why God needed come and intervene.  These reasons would include things so noteworthy as, “God, we look CRAZY to our pagan neighbors if we call out to you and you do not come to our aid!”  (My paraphrase!)   But before ending the prayer the Psalmist on most occasions would recall ways that God had been faithful in the past, and if faithful in the past the Psalmist would feel he could rely upon God for current and future experiences of distress.

Most often if the wells of our faith are dry it is not because God has failed to show up.  Most often the wells of our faith are dry because you and I have failed to spend time putting aside other distractions in order to be attentive to scripture and to prayer.  But whatever the cause for our “dry wells” you and I can follow the example of the Psalmist.  We can call out in our distress.  We can give God reasons why God should come to our aid. 

But may we also remember the other part of the Psalmist’s pattern in prayer.  May we remember the ways God has been faithful to us in the past.  May we recount the good work that God has done in our lives throughout our lives.  May we feel that sense of certainty that because God has shown up in the past, has acted on our behalf in the past, then surely God will show up NOW!

And FYI—writer’s block—OVER!

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