“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
There are some things ‘Mordor’ can’t touch—all darkness is fleeting. From everlasting to everlasting the star will shine in all its beauty. And us with Him.
His love endures forever.
Now that’s hope.
“Over half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’ Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Templeton Address, London, 10 May 1983.
And now it’s us—for the same reason. The American experiment was founded on a triangular model of liberty: Liberty requires Virtue; Virtue requires Faith; and Faith requires Liberty. Remove any of the supporting lines and the triangle collapses. Men have forgotten God—that’s why all this has happened.
Now you know what to pray for today.
Another of my favorite poems that speaks for itself. Oh, wait a minute…
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait”.
“Wait? You say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.
And Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting—for what?”
He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes met with mine,
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint;
You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.
You’d never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You’d know that I give and I save (for a start),
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.
You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that “My grace is sufficient for Thee.”
Yes, your hopes for your loved one quickly would come true,
But, oh, the loss if I lost what I’m doing in you!
So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft’ may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, “Wait.”
Enjoy the wait.
Among the Jews is an old expression, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”* Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friends.” Today we thank God for those men and women of the United States Armed Forces who stood in the obstinate gap between peace and violence and fell defending liberty, virtue and faith—defending us—and even saving the world.
*Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a
“Christians often explain away miracles for the sake of being rational about things… They acknowledge the God Who Created Everything, but find it difficult believing that this same God would occasionally suspend the natural laws of His own creation for the sake of His glory, because it’s ‘not rational’.” —Zachary Jason McCarl
Pray big—rationality not required. God still parts seas.
(Back from Israel and Jordan—you gotta go and I’d love to take you.)
So—what are you spending on others this Christmas?
“And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved,” said the Apostle Paul. In the same way, go before God’s people this day and spend yourself on them—pour out your all. Be fully spent this day on the people He has entrusted to you. Hold back not a single tear or drop of sweat on their behalf. Lay your whole heart on the line for them and do so with a supreme gladness to be able to do so. They may not respond the way we would like, they may not return the affection—the Corinthians did not to Paul—nonetheless, let us be spent for their souls this day for the glory of God. It is my prayer that this verse could be spoken of me, but also you all today—that we gave our all for the souls of the people of God. The Lord strengthen us in order to do so! —Pastor Jim Suttle
Add that to your list.