I have flown into some turbulence the last few days, so sorry that I’ve been silent. I can’t write if I’m trying to catch my own breath. So let me start with sharing a poem by Stuart Holden written in 1931 and published in the little booklet “God-guided pain”.
He led me to the way of pain,
A barren and a starless place;
[I did not know His eyes were wet,
He would not let me see His face]
He left me like a frightened child
Unshielded in a night of storm;
[How should I dream He was so near?
The rain-swept darkness hid His form]
But when the clouds were driven back,
And dawn was breaking into day,
I knew Whose feet had walked with mine!
I saw the Foot-prits all the way.
So on Friday amidst the “turbulence”‘ I become quiet with the Lord and in my minds eye I see a large pool of pristine water surrounded by lush trees and grass. The water is so quiet it is like a mirror – a picture of absolute serenity. Do I hear Jesus saying “this is a picture of the peace I want to give you”?
Yes Lord but what about when the waves of turbulence come? “Remember your decision:
‘If you want to walk on the water, you must first get out of the boat’. Your trust must be in Me completely. Remember James1:6, ‘When he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like the wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.'” I remember the work I have been doing to understand James 1 afresh. There can be no splitting of our trust. It is either God or the world. It is so easy to ‘hedge your bets’. Place your trust in God?? and then make plans to depend on the world’s solutions.
So God is saying to me “you must get out of the secular boat you are in and trust in me completely and I will be your Shield, I will fold you into My arms and hold you close – you will be safe with me. Remember your new identity – you are – “in Jesus”. That makes you a completely new person with a new identity – shielded by a bullet-proof shield of my mercy and grace”
So I cuddle up to the Lord and say “hug me Lord – I need a tight hug from you – I receive your peace.”
I must confess as I have considered this first chapter of James that I have had a bit of a revelation. You know vs 3 that says you “must consider it pure joy when you face trials of diverse kinds”? To my shame I have often thought, now please this is deep down sharing, that God is a bit mean with His trials. Its as if He just wants to keep disturbing my life. OK I don’t think like that with my rational mind, this is just a deep reaction I sometimes have, almost dreading the next one. Well while I was reading this passage over again the other day it hit me (I’m sure it came from Jesus), “Your attitude towards the testing in your life is still a barrier to my relationship with you”. But do you know what, even as He was saying that to me its as if my eyes were opened and I suddenly saw these trials in a completely different light:
I saw them as being allowed by a supremely loving God, taking no joy in any pain I may experience, but allowing the effect of living in a fallen world with an active enemy to be part of my experience to help me to trust Him more. “You are already facing a huge trial Emily’s sickness which will progress. The small things along the way I allow to keep you trusting in Me, to keep your attention on me and to grow your faith in Me as these things get resolved you will be able to trust me more and more in the big things of life. This is all part of the act I have of loving you completely. And hear this; I protect you from many things along the way that you don’t even comprehend or know about”.
So suddenly I could see that these things, and they will continue to irritate, are all part of His benevolent love and NOT a way of making my life difficult. And of course, I am ashamed as I think of the multitude of ways He has shown His love to me, the multitude of issues that have been resolved often in amazing ways and not the least the number of dear Christian friends who love and support me in so many ways.
So what does the gospel say? Repent, confess and trust in Jesus afresh, and He will restore us completely. Wow what a Saviour we have!