Monday, December 5, 2011


Last week was way too long. Too many late nights, too many early mornings, too many long days. A crash was inevitable.

I cried all the way home from work Saturday afternoon, not because anything was really wrong, but because I was just so very, very tired. And I knew I'd have to fix dinner, when what I really wanted was just to crawl into bed and sleep for two days straight.

Waiting for sleep later that night, absolutely broken, I prayed that God would somehow give me the grace to desire and pursue and promote His glory over my own comfort and happiness. More than anything else, I wanted rest, wanted this present season of toil to be over. I could no longer bear - did not even want to bear - the yoke that had been laid upon me. "God, I cannot do this any longer. I cannot even bring myself to desire to continue. If there's any way that I'm to continue on the path that You've laid before me, then You are going to have to do it for me. God, You are going to have to re-align my thinking, and You are going to have to sustain this flesh. God, I need more grace..."

Sunday morning, I contemplated skipping church. Black circles under my eyes (we're way past gray), shaky emotionally, I knew I'd fall apart the first time someone chirped, "How are you today?" But I'd missed last Sunday, due to the Plague, and I really didn't think I could survive another week without the fellowship of my brothers and sisters and the nourishment of sound Biblical teaching. I was exhausted, yes, but I also felt like I was starving. I chose nourishment over sleep - everyone would just have to suffer with me in my weakness. Part of being family, right?

In Sunday school, we are working through a study by J.I. Packer, Rediscovering Holiness. Here is the last point that was discussed in our class yesterday morning:

Quoting Packer: Sign five (that we are growing in grace) is a greater patience and willingness to wait for God and bow to His will, with a deeper abhorrence of what masquerades as the bold faith, but is really the childish immaturity, that tries to force God's hand. It is the way of children to want things now, and to say and feel most passionately that they cannot wait for them or do without them. But the adult way of petitioning is the way of submission, modeled by Jesus in Gethsemane - "My Father, if it is possible...Yet not as I will, but as you will" (Matt. 26:39). It is right to tell God what we long for and would like Him to do, but it is also right to remind ourselves and acknowledge to Him that He knows best. When Christians are learning to submit to God's ordering of events with undaunted realism and humility, it would seem that they are growing in grace.

Ever feel like God is talking directly to you, like He's holding your face in His hands, saying, "Listen to me! I'm talking to you!"?

Well, between Sunday school and church, Diane Traverse came over and said Hello. "How has your week been?" Poor Diane! She caught the deluge, then sat with me until the storm passed, until I was again at ease and could turn my attention to the worship service. Yes, I love my Grace family!

Brother Billy had printed this quote from C.H. Spurgeon for us to read and consider during the musical interlude as we prepared for worship: I doubt not, light streams continually from every part of the sun to cheer the worlds that revolve around it; so, from the whole of Christ, there issues forth comfort for poor and needy souls. He delighteth in mercy. He is a Savior and a great one. He is all love, all tenderness, all pity, all goodness; and the very chief of sinners, if they do but see Him, shall see light.

Ever feel like God is talking directly to you, like He's holding your face in His hands, saying, "Listen to me! I'm talking to you!"?

Our first hymn was "Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates" - one of my favorites. Just consider this one verse: "A helper just he (Christ) comes to thee, his chariot is humility, his kingly crown is holiness, his scepter pity in distress."

And then, Brother Billy continued preaching through Acts. In chapter 14, verse 22, we found Paul and Barnabas "strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Through many tribulations - yes, this journey, this faith walk, will be difficult, fraught with tribulation. But the chapter concludes in an interesting way: "...and from there they (Paul and Barnabas) sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled...they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles" (emphasis added). Paul and Barnabas endured much greater affliction than I have ever known, but all of it - the beatings, the persecution - all of it was part of their fulfilling the work that God had given them. Through their tribulation, and through the tribulation of their brothers and sisters in Christ, God was doing a mighty work.

Ever feel like God is talking directly to you, like He's holding your face in His hands, saying, "Listen to me! I'm talking to you!"?

Sunday afternoon, I finally got some much-coveted sleep. Dozed on the couch so that I could be among the kids and their chatter. In bed last night before ten - hallelujah! - and actually awake this morning before the alarm went off at 6:10. Reading in Daniel this morning, where once again, God seemed to be speaking directly to me. Awesomely encouraging Facebook status by my son Reuben, reminding me of God's goodness to us in Christ, His perfect and perfectly satisfying provision.

And then I found this, another of my favorite hymns, on YouTube: Thou Lovely Source of True Delight If, like me, you've been crashing in the darkness lately, this song will speak to your heart. "'Tis here (in God's Word), whene'er my comforts droop and sin and sorrow rise, Thy love with cheering beams of hope my fainting heart supplies."

Like John, I can testify this morning, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." Like Spurgeon, I can confidently assert that "He is a Savior and a great one...the very chief of sinners, if they do but see Him, shall see light."

1 comment:

Shanna Bean said...

So glad I happened upon your blog today. Your honesty and perspective always minister to me. Thanks for reminding me of the goodness of our God in the midst of the darkness.