Holding Hands in the Dark

“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.

—j

For Those Who Mess Up (and Those Who Don’t)

“There’s nothing you can do wrong to make God love you less; there’s nothing you can do good to make God love you more.” —Horacio Spafford

Some days I really need to know this. In fact, every day. Okay—every minute of every day. You get the idea.

What a relief.

—j

Why Wait?

Another of my favorite poems that speaks for itself. Oh, wait a minute…

WAIT

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.

—j

Well, You Asked…

“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.)

—j

 

Illustration by Justin Sweet © 2006

A Most Stupendous Thing

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” the Apostle Paul asked. The question itself is the answer…

“God is for us. Paul here arrives at the mountain height of the Christian position! And that, so to speak, by way of experience. He does indeed, in the word “us” bring all the saints with him. There was first our state of awful guilt and Christ’s work for us, and justification thereby. Then came knowledge of indwelling sin, and the Spirit’s work within us, and deliverance from sin’s power thereby. Now Paul has arrived upon the immovable mountain-top… and sees God Himself FOR us! Not at all meaning here that God is merely on our side in out struggles, but God’s uncaused, unalterable attitude with respect to those in Christ. God is FOR them! Nothing in time or in eternity to come has anything to do with matters here. Our weak hearts, prone to legality and unbelief, must with great difficulty receive these mighty words: God is FOR us! Place the emphasis here where GOD places it: on this great word “for”. God is FOR His elect. They have failed, but He is FOR them. They are ignorant, but He is FOR them. They have not yet brought forth much fruit, but He is FOR them. If our hearts once surrender to this stupendous fact that we are those whom God will be eternally FOR…whose lives do not at all affect the fact that God is FOR them, then we shall be ready to magnify the God of all grace!” —William Newell (emphasis in the original)

There is an unassailable star gleaming in the night of the world—a hope shining beyond the reach of any looming shadow, be it personal, political or spiritual. It is there, though clouds obscure it, and it will remain when they are forever banished.

—j

Not Turkey Day, Part 2

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.

But God…

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.

Hallelujah.

—j

Infinite Understatement

Hyperbole? Sure. Poetry? Of course. Understated? Infinitely.

Could we with ink the oceans fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the oceans dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song…
From a poem by Rabbi Meyer, Worms, Germany, 1096, adapted by F.M. Lehman, 1917

Definitely my Favorite.

—j