If thou but suffer God to guide thee
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He'll give thee strength, whate'er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trusts in God's unchanging love
Builds on the Rock that naught can move.
What can these anxious cares avail thee,
These never-ceasing moans and sighs?
What can it help if thou bewail thee
O'er each dark moment as it flies?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.
Be patient and await His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whate'er thy Father's pleasure
And His discerning love hath sent,
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To Him who chose us for His own.
God knows full well when times of gladness
Shall be the needful thing for thee.
When He has tried thy soul with sadness
And from all guile has found thee free,
He comes to thee all unaware
And makes thee own His loving care.
Nor think amid the fiery trial
That God hath cast thee off unheard,
That he whose hopes meet no denial
Must surely be of God preferred.
Time passes and much change doth bring
And sets a bound to everything.
All are alike before the Highest;
'Tis easy to our God, we know,
To raise thee up, though low thou liest,
To make the rich man poor and low.
True wonders still by Him are wrought
Who setteth up and brings to naught.
Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
Perform thy duties faithfully,
And trust His Word, though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee.
God never yet forsook in need
The soul that trusted Him indeed.
~Georg Neumark, 1640~
We didn't sing the above song today in church. But my dear friend (who was today's accompanist) played a few
verses of it for the meditation at the beginning of the service.
I was (need I even say it?) in tears.
What a beautiful hymn. How true. How bittersweet. How heart-wrenching.
How I wish I could recite these words with unswerving faith.
It is hard to believe that God will be with me and give me strength, no matter what circumstances He brings me.
It is hard to trust that He will bear us through these evil days.
It is hard to be patient, awaiting His leisure.
It is hard to have cheerful hope (especially the cheerful part).
It is hard to even believe sometimes that my inmost wants are actually known to God (what, isn't He listening?).
It is hard to be confident in the fact that God has not cast me off unheard in this fiery trial (when it so often feels
like maybe He has).
It is hard to see others receiving blessing without obvious trial and grief, and not wonder if they are then the
preferred children of God (does my heavenly Father have "favorites"?).
It is hard to know that it is easy for God to raise up and bring low, for that simply reminds me that my
bringing-low is His will, and it is not out of His grasp to stop.
It is hard to sing, hard to pray, hard to keep His ways; hard to perform duties faithfully; hard to trust His word.
It is hard to believe that I, so undeserving, will find His words true for me. Even me. Even my family. Even our
broken hearts. Even our grieving souls.
But it is so.
There is no denying.
Only Satan wants to confuse me and confound me.
My Father wants to bring beauty from these ashes.
As my husband recently said, we are being released from the immediate hot burns of grief; the Lord is pulling us
out of that particular fire (for now). But here come the hammer and tongs. He is shaping us and molding us. He is
conforming us more into the image of His Son.
So we are grimacing, bracing for it.
And we are eagerly awaiting the beauty on the other side of the pain.
It was hard to sing some of the songs in church today with hope and faith, without my voice wobbling and my eyes filling with tears…
from Psalm 34: In every time I’ll always bless the LORD; His praise will ever be within my mouth… O fear the LORD, all you He has redeemed! For those who fear Him never suffer want. Young lions hunger; they may lack their food; But those who seek the LORD shall have no want.
from “Blessed Jesus, At Thy Word”: Open Thou our ears and heart; Help us by Thy Spirit’s pleading; Hear the cry Thy people raises; Hear and bless our prayers and praises… Grant that we Thy Word may trust And obtain true consolation…
from “The Son of God Goes Forth to War”: A noble army, men and boys, The matron and the maid, Around the Savior’s throne rejoice, In robes of light arrayed… O God, to us may grace be giv’n To follow in their train!
Today, as on other Sabbath days, I was allowed to worship in Spirit and in Truth. I went to the Heavenly Jerusalem today, to worship at the feet of Jesus. I brought my joys and my brokenness. And He did not turn me away. He fed me. He gave me His own body in broken bread and spilt wine.
And (just one other icing-on-the-cake reason to love it) I got to fellowship with my children. All six of them. We were together as a complete family, as on no other day of the week. And we praised together.
It is hard sometimes to sing certain words – either I know their truths too deeply, or I feel I perhaps will never deeply enough feel their truths (a bit of each usually).
I love reciting the Creeds. Especially the parts about looking for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
I look forward to Heaven.
Probably moreso than many other young women.
But as Samuel Rutherford puts it (sorry for the paraphrase), I just have more jewels in Heaven now, and simply more reasons to exult when it is my time to join them.
Elisabeth Elliot said, ” I wonder if one of the reasons God doesn’t give us more clues about what heaven is going to be like is that we would never manage to keep our minds on our work if we knew. It would be like telling little children ahead of time where the Christmas presents are hidden. ” (Be Still My Soul, pg 142). I think it’s true! Because today I feel like Christmas is coming, and I can’t wait to start ripping off the bows and peeling away the layers of paper to see what beautiful secrets are itching to be uncovered.