Yehoshua ben Peleh Shim'onai

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5 october 2015

A Friday Night Prayer

God, Who are You in this life of mine?
You are the very Source of it. You are the Creator of all things, and none of all that began to exist existed apart from Your wonderful and unimaginable power of creation. From the farthest stars in the heavens to the abysmal depths of the waters, from the craggy heights to the fruitful plains and deserted valleys - all these things are created by Your powerful Word. Even the clay from which You have fashioned this flesh was created by Your orders. Even the breath that made this artwork a living soul came from Your mouth. You are the very beginning of this life; by You it has started, from You has proceeded, and for You has existed.
You are the Designer of it. Even before all things in this world ever existed, You already have this life in Your mind. You already saw me before You have crafted me. You already knew who I will be and what my name will be. You already saw how I will be born, when will I learn my first steps, when will I first fall, and how I will rise up from my fall. You already knew my desires, my wishes, and my dreams. You already saw my waking moments and the times when I go to bed. You already saw my anxious thoughts, my fears, and everything that will be troubling my mind. You already saw my ups and downs - the days when I feel everything is alright, and the nights when I feel like I'm nothing but a hopeless and worthless dirt. Lord, You already saw it all before the foundation of the earth, for You have planned it all.
You are the Redeemer of it. Lord, You know my heart and You saw how wicked it had become. It turned away from You – away to a life of depravity. I lived this life living in a delusion, thinking that You don’t care anyway. As if I didn’t know You were there. As if I wasn’t hearing Your still small voice. As if I wasn’t feeling You knocking at the door of my heart, offering me Your forgiveness and grace. But I just didn’t care at all; all I care about is myself and all that I just wanted was to live this life without You. And so, the hand that You made to praise You, same was the hand that slapped Your beautiful face.
But You were there to catch me when I fell
Tossed my sins in seas of fare-thee-well
And so the Word, by which and for which I was created, became flesh – the King of angels in heaven made lower than His heavenly worshippers just to reach down to such a wicked man as I am. He stood before the crowd, beaten up and mocked, with His face being spat on. The governor was there to judge, but he did so uncaringly. He had me released from the prison, bound in chains, and presented me before the same crowd: a murderous rebel who deserves to be punished. The governor shouted, “You choose: your king or this criminal?” The crowd answered, “ We know no king but your king! We choose the second man!” “But what shall I do with this innocent man?” “We want him dead! Crucify him!”
As I am writing this (You know my heart, O Lord!), I can’t help but get indignant. “What? That’s what I deserve! I am a rebel – a murderer! Wait – that’s my cross! I should be the one to be killed there!” But as You continue to unfold Your story to me, I began to understand why Your Son just stood there silently without any complaint. He whispered to You and said, “It’s alright, Father. This is Your will. This is what You have sent Me for. I will take his cross.”
And yes, it pleased You to crush Him, because He bore in Himself my sins against You. On that ugly cross, He experienced the violence of Your wrath so that I can receive Your peace. He suffered and bled so that by His wounds, I can be healed from my soul’s sickness. He, Who is Your only begotten Son, was rejected by You so that You could accept me as Your own son. Yes, it pleased You to crush Him – the pure, sinless, and perfect Lamb of God that was slain for the forgiveness of wicked sinners like me!
O Lord, this life exists only because of Your perfect love. Because of Your perfect love, it was created and because of Your perfect love, it was redeemed. It is Your love – Your perfect love – that is all that I need; for it is better than life itself. Yet here am I again, longing for something else which can never fill my emptiness – thirsty for the love of a woman which cannot fully satisfy; wanting for more riches and desiring them as if they were You; and holding on to things that will perish as if there is no afterlife. Your love – Your perfect love – is more than anything valuable in this life; for those things are all but nothing compared to Your love. Yet here am I still wanting those things more than Your love, as if it is never enough!
Who are You, my God? You are the Source of my life and the Lover of my soul. And who am I? I am all lost without You! O Lord, Your love is better than this life; so change my heart and make it fall in love with You!


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