BUT FATHER ALONE
Written by Clifton A. Casteel
Father, I have never selfishly prayed for myself, not one time. But Lord, now that I have been stripped of everything that I have, my health, my friends, my earthly possessions, and even my faith. I am lost and alone as I lay here bare, cold and naked of directions. I’m ashamed of my position. I'm so afraid of the future and I don’t understand my present, and yet, I’m not sure I yearn for the past. And to hope is to risk despair. I have lost control of my inner spirit. Precious Father, what You see is what you get. All I have is my beaten-down self. And I find myself down on the ground without a 'Simon of Cyrene' to pick me up and lighten the burden of my cross. Yet I'm hoping that I can lay my burdens at Your feet. I was blind and did not see Your Grace. I now realize man does not come to Grace; rather, Grace comes to man. And it is You who chooses when Grace shines upon a person and thus his soul is filed with unrelenting faith and hope.
Father, I ask not You remove my burdens. I ask not that You understand or forgive me for my knowingly or unknowingly actions, but that You exercise Your mercy. I pray that You showed me how to accept and deal with them as a learning process as I journey through those uncertain roads. Lord, I ask that You not leave me down here; it is so hard. Strange as it may seem to me, I find myself filled with gratitude for the trials and tribulations that confronts me. Though I'm uncertain of the outcome due to my fear of the unknown, but I will trust You. I know You are too wise to make a mistake and too loving to be unkind. And Your plans are greater than anything my mind could ever comprehend.
When I was on the mountain peak, things came so easily and without much thought of mind. But now I’m down here in the valley I find myself hopeless….. My faith is being tested as never before. I am so afraid of the unknown. However, with only a morsel of hope and faith, I believe You, the God of good times is still the God of what seems to be unpleasant times. I have come to believe that a person’s doubt is not the absent of faith. All the doubts that one has about Your existence or Your heavenly home will not drive You away. Because You, my loving God respects a person's free will, and thus, You comes closer than ever when You are needed, and yet not asked for. You don't expect for man to always be perfect or pretend that his faith is solid as a rock. My Father, You want me to be honest, to be me, and say what is on my mind so You can help correct my wayward and uncertain thoughts. You look past the many doubts and fears that consume every man sooner or later.
And I have come to realize I am nothing more than a grain of sand on a crowed beach. Yet with Your ever present love and guidance, I am everything I want to be and so much more. I am a child of this vast universe with a specific purpose for being here. I know with certainty that I will never walk alone, and the God I know will never fail me. He is truly my friend and most of all He is inside of me. And I will get back to those shores of peace and tranquility. I Love You God.
Written and copyrighted © at New Light Baptist Church, Monroe, LA. November 2005.
Written on my knees at church service, New Light Baptist Church, Monroe, LA., 1995.