“As the rain hides the stars, as the autumn mist hides the hills, happenings of my lot hide the shining of Thy face from me. Yet, if I may hold Thy hand in the darkness, it is enough; since I know that, though I may stumble in my going, Thou dost not fall.” —Alistair Maclean
Walking in faith—not always fun, but always mighty. Always.
“O, God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” —An Old Breton Fishermen’s prayer, from a plaque on President John F. Kennedy’s desk
God can seem dark and vast, stormy, dangerous and overwhelming—like the churning sea. But like the sea, He’s also encompassing—unpredictable at times—but His love and grace fill the deep, endless expanse of all He is. The sea is always bigger than the storm. Even on the waves He comes to us walking, reminding us, “Fear not—it is I,” and calms the storm.
We are surrounded and we are safe.
“Jesus loves us not because we’re good, but because He’s Jesus.” —Pastor Kevin Green
We can’t escape this fact anymore than God can escape Himself. Jesus loves broken people like us because He does as He is, and for no other reason.
That is tremendous.
“You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked…is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself—the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also (except in rare moments of grace) beyond our desiring…” —C.S. Lewis on the Sermon on the Mount
Revel in this, for there is nothing greater—then go love others the same way He loved you.
(It’s okay—He will help.)
Illustration by Justin Sweet © 2006
(An Elementary School teacher’s poem…)
He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done;
“Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher, I’ve spoiled this one?”
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted,
Gave him a new one, all unspotted;
And into his tired heart I cried, “Do better now, my child.”
I went to the Throne with a trembling heart, the day was done;
“Have you a new day for me, dear Master, I’ve spoiled this one?”
He took my day, all soiled and blotted,
Gave me a new one, all unspotted;
And into my tired heart He cried, “Do better now, my child.”
Don’t you just love God’s grace…?
It’s been a rough year for many, and as Thanksgiving arrives there are empty chairs at the feast and many bruised hearts that find it hard to sing.
“If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.” —Senior Chaplain John Akers
God is not just with the brokenhearted, He is for them, and He will even be glorified in the hurt.
One of my favorites…
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun;
For His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!
—Annie J. Flint
We’ll never reach the end of Him.
A merchant once found something much bigger than America…
“I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous Presence.” —Christopher Columbus
No matter sin gets redefined, it can’t unring the bell. Ignore it, offset it with good or call it something else, the roots of guilt remain like an impossibly stubborn weed. What can we do? Start here…
“Father in heaven! Hold not our sins up against us but hold us up against our sins, so that the thought of Thee when it wakens in our soul…should not remind us of what we have committed but of what Thou didst forgive, not of how we went astray but of how Thou didst save us!” —Soren Kierkegaard
God’s grace has always been about what He did for us, not because we’re good, but because He’s God. It’s just the way He is.
That makes me worship.
This week I buried my father-in-law; earlier this year I buried my mother. In-between I helped others bury loved-ones. There but for the grace of God we go? No, there we go. But a great certainty awaits. [Here comes a SPOILER] In the last book of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, the four children are killed. Tragic and bad, until Aslan the Lion reveals the children’s true fate—and ours—especially if you love the Lion…
Aslan: “…The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” And as He spoke He no longer looked like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us, this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures… had only been the cover and the title page [of the book]; now at last they are beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” —C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
This is you. Revel in His love—revel forever.