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For several reasons my heart was heavy when I got up. I felt my everyday problems more than I did God. I did not have joy nor did I have peace. But it was good because I’ve learned how to get closer to God and to have joy and peace through everyday problems and gloomy feelings. It was also good because Elsie and I were about to pray for our kids and I knew exactly what to pray for them. I realized, as we began praying, that my kids will regularly have the same feelings I experience. If they learn my habit they can live with joy too.

I know when I feel gloom – or fear, shame, frustration and so on -- that I need to spend time confessing to God the things that are true about him and about life in him. He is my Father, which means he is very aware of me and cares deeply. I have to remember and confess in prayer that he is all-powerful and infinite in wisdom. I asked for myself, Elsie, and my kids that we would learn by our problems to believe at the deepest level that his irresistible power and infinite wisdom are directed towards our lives by his perfect care. I prayed for my kids to learn to face all trials in this way as a good habit. (these steps in prayer follow the Lord’s Prayer, the only model of prayer ever commanded.) By accepting our problems, yielding to the Holy Spirit, and practicing prayer I got close to God this morning and I’m still enjoying his peace.

God knows that sin has so damaged our interest in him and our capacity to want him and focus on him with any kind of intensity that he gives us the gift of trials. He makes us desperate. Many people, however, try to assuage their gloom in other ways (work, pleasure, entertainment) and only succeed in distracting their minds temporarily from their emptiness. But trials give me the best prayer times. So, I hope I wake up gloomy tomorrow.

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