Unfortunately, as a young child, through the beginning of my pre-teens, I was the target of bullying. Normally this is not a subject I freely discuss, but today is a good day to share. Bullying is hateful, ugly, and puts worry, fear, and undue pressure on the one being bullied. As I entered my teen years, the tables turned and I then became the attacker. This is not something proud of. I did not know the Lord, but that is no excuse. You would think I would remember how it felt…the pain, the sting of hurtful names, ulcers that took a toll on my physical body. However, I just took the pain, pressure, and insults to heart and became hard.
My new Bible study is concentrating on the power through prayer. One of the verses today was Hebrews 4:16, “ Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” As I meditated on this verse, (looking up grace and mercy because I get those mixed up all the time), I thought about the word confidence.
Taunting others and disrespecting my teachers made me very familiar with the principal’s office. Going there was not my favorite pastime but there I ended up often. Even though I put on the tough exterior, I was riddled with guilt and fear. Confidence was not a quality that I had a lot of. So when I had to write this verse out this morning, this memory came flooding into my mind. Why?
Prayer seems to be the easiest but most difficult action for Christians. For me, I get distracted and my mind wanders. It’s very challenging to stay focused. Even more, guilt, shame and sin keep us from approaching that throne of grace. Instead of going to the principal or counselor with how I was feeling and the troubles in my heart to get help, I chose to try to bury them…and it didn’t stay buried but came out in many dysfunctional ways. We may think, ” Hey, I can’t pray because I did this or that. God is mad at me. I have to remember my sin and it makes me feel bad. I can figure this out. Also, false guilt and shame flood our hearts and minds.
This verse invites us to draw near to God in prayer. That is such a beautiful picture! So often when we feel so inadequate, fearful or guilt-ridden that we stay far away from the throne. Remember, Christ has done the work through his death on the cross and his resurrection! If we are saved, we are forgiven before we even commit the sin! We CAN have confidence to approach the throne of grace (involves the unmerited pardon of our sins, and that pardon was made possible through Christ.)
God is not our principal but our loving Savior! We can unburden our heart before the throne of grace and say whatever we want to say. He extends his mercy toward us through his loving compassion despite our sinfulness. Grace and mercy are magnificent gifts that should take us to our knees in worship and adoration! Remember, we can bring nothing to God except a humble and thankful heart as we trust not in our works, but completely on the finished work of Christ.
I have to say that the many times I saw the principal was not pleasant, fair, or a learning situation. It really did not take care of any of what was causing my behavior and the hurts in my heart. Christ came in to my life and in a moment I became his child. He is still working on me and he continues to work on you. Prayer is a privilege! He loves you. He wants to talk with you. He wants to give you grace and mercy.