Pour yourselves a cup of herb tea, perhaps add a drop of honey, and relax. This might take a while.
I’m feeling very serious today, but with a joyful, thankful heart. The other evening we spent about three hours listening to soul-refreshing, spirit-lifting, heart-healing music. We attended a Gaither concert in Waco.
I’m 72 years old, and I’ve known the Lord for as long as I can remember. I have often given testimony of remembering being in my Sunday school class when I was six years old, and how even then I knew Jesus is real and that He loved me. My testimony is that God is good, all the time, and that His ways are always right and good. Our ministry name is “Grateful Ministry” and I have two email addresses that include the word “grateful.” I am so very grateful.
But here comes one of those “confess your sins to one another” times. Of late I have become so very weary and angry—anger at whom is a question I don’t wish to consider—about all the hard times and disappointments I see my loved ones going through. Many friends and family members face serious issues and challenges, and I’ve been praying my heart out for them. Things only seem to get worse.
Himself’s back is the most minor of all those afflictions, but it still affects his outlook and disposition. It is wearying to continually fight pain. I don’t understand why this good, God-fearing, loving man who is miraculously still alive at almost 75 years old has to suffer like this.
I’ve gone through loss and disappointment, too, but in all things, at all times—well, read 2 Corinthians 9:8.
Early in the concert, The Martins–two sisters and a brother from Arkansas–in their stunning harmonies sang PROMISE. (Lyrics below.)
From the beginning of the song I felt as though the Lord Himself was speaking to me, and when they sang My grace will be sufficient in your time of need. My love will be the anchor that you can hold on to…this is the promise I made to you, I pretty much fell apart.
How unbelievably arrogant and prideful of me to suppose that my prayers, however earnest, were holding my loved ones together! That was a cross I made for myself. Not a Heaven-sent cross at all.
To quote Fenelon, “The crosses which we make for ourselves by over-anxiety as to the future are not Heaven-sent crosses. We tempt God by our false wisdom, seeking to forestall His arrangements, and struggling to supplement His providence by our own provisions. The fruit of our wisdom is always bitter. God suffers it to be so that we may be discomfited when we forsake His fatherly guidance. The future it not ours: we may never have a future; or, if it comes, it may be wholly different to all we foresaw. Let us shut our eyes to that which God hides from us in the hidden depths of His wisdom. Let us worship without seeing; let us be silent and lie still.”
Nothing new here, you see that; just a strong reminder that God deals with each of us according to His purpose and love for us. All of our children and all of our friends have trouble in their lives. Just guessing here, but I suppose it’s just possible that your children and friends do, too. We all do.
The point is, THEY have to find out for themselves that God’s grace is sufficient. No one of us has been promised an easy path, but it is in those very difficulties we find the reality of God’s sustaining grace.
Ah, I am frustrated, because I know I’m not stating anything new here; certainly nothing as revolutionary as my passion would warrant.
I am still concerned for each of our loved ones and will continue to pray earnestly, but I have the calm assurance that God is saying, “I’m on it; don’t worry—just keep on keeping on.” Perseverance, I think it’s called.
And so I hereby repent of my weariness, anger and impatience. “Return to thy rest, O my soul; the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” As a result, I find myself with a greater faith in and appreciation for the power and mercy of Almighty God. “I am weak but He is strong! Yes, Jesus loves me…!”
I’m turning away from any anxiety about selling the house. Oh, we both have peace about our decision, but I want to get on with it–there’s that impatience again. I need another sip of chamomile tea and consider:
What will I do when this house has sold and we are established in our next residence? Well, except for cleaning, cleaning, cleaning just in case there might be a real estate showing, pretty much the same things I am doing now: Writing a poem now and then, maybe a blog post, reading all the stuff I never felt I had time for before, laughing at our two foolish little dogs, and thanking God for the wonderful life He has given us.
I never said that I would give you silver or gold
or that you would never feel the fire or shiver in the cold
But I did say you’d never walk thru this world alone
And I did say don’t make this world your home.
I never said that fear wouldn’t find you in the night
or that loneliness was something you’d never have to fight
But I did say I’d be right there by your side
And I did say I’ll always help you fight.
‘Cause you know I made a promise that I intend to keep,
My grace will be sufficient in your time of need.
My love will be the anchor that you can hold on to.
This is the promise, this is the promise I’ve made to you
I never said that friends would never turn their backs on you
or that the world around you wouldn’t see you as a fool
But I did say like me you’ll surely be despised.
And I did say My ways confound the wise.
I didn’t say you’d never taste the bitter kiss of death
or have to walk thru chilly Jordan to enter into rest
But I did say I’d be waiting right on the other side
And I did say I’ll dry every tear you’ve cried.
‘Cause you know I made a promise that I’ve prepared a place,
and someday sooner than you think you’ll see me face to face
and you’ll sing with the angels and a countless multitude.
This is the promise, this is the promise I’ve made to you.
So just keep on walking don’t turn to the left or right
and in the midst of darkness let this be your light
That hell can’t separate us and you’re gonna make it thru.
This is the promise, this is the promise I’ve made to you.
Oh, this is the promise, this is the promise I’ve made to you.