The Waters Ahead

“Year’s End”

O Love Beyond Compare,

Thou art good when Thou givest,
when Thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With Thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.
I bless Thee that Thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If Thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
Thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see Thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify Thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.

–Arthur Bennett, ed., “Year’s End,” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 111.

 

What do old sailors learn?
When the lure of the sea fades
and their faces are aged by the sun and the wind.

When ships don’t come home.
And the waters bring more danger than play.

And those of us on land…
After the glitter of this season
and hope takes flight or fall.

You know my mind
that I’m wired to worry, and trust is a foreign language.

So faith is unnatural to me.
And if You hadn’t chosen and anchored me first,
I would certainly be lost at sea.

And now, as “I hoist sail and draw up anchor…”
Pilot me now, my future as You have my past.

That this vessel may bear gifts when it returns to You.
That I may not come on driftwood to shore.

 

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Learning to be Faithful

As I continue to reflect on the book of Job, I’m learning what it means to trust God when you don’t understand what He is doing. When you don’t see the logic. You don’t understand how He works…

Yet it is at those times that we ground ourselves on WHO HE IS. 
On His unchanging attributes — On His wisdom, His goodness, His omniscience, His faithfulness…
And knowing that enables us to take the next step… 
(I’m still learning.)

psalm 13.jpg

Today, we talked about why people change…
Why promises are broken.

What happens when keeping a promise no longer serves you?
What happens when you (or the other person) has changed?
What happens when love grows cold, or feels like it’s gone?

And I begin to see how good it is that faithfulness and immutability (unchanging over time) are part of God’s attributes.

“I will confess some days I feel forgotten
Seems like You’re hiding Your face from me

I will admit that I wrestle with my thoughts
Struggle with all of the sorrow deep
How long will You leave me here without answers
Crushed by the words of my enemies

But I will trust Your unfailing love
I will rest knowing You’re enough
I will give praise for through all my days

You have been good to me
You have been good
Ever so good
You have been good to me”
| A.T., on Psalm 13

PSALM 13

1How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

We Need Hope

“But there is hope in all our tears. When the hour of Christ’s triumph arrives, the suffering world will be brought out into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. For men of the new creation the golden age is not past but future, and when it is ushered in, a wondering universe will see that God has indeed abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. In the meantime, we rest our hope in the only wise God, our Savior, and wait with patience the slow development of His benign purposes.

In spite of tears and pain and death, we believe that the God who made us all is infinitely wise and good. As Abraham staggered not at the promises of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and was fully persuaded that what He had promised He was able to perform, so do we base our hope in God alone and hope against hope till the day breaks.

We rest in what God is. I believe that this alone is true faith. Any faith that must be supported by the evidence of the senses is not real faith….

The testimony of faith is that, no matter how things look in this fallen world, all God’s acts are wrought in perfect wisdom. The incarnation of the Eternal Son in human flesh was one of God’s mighty deeds, and we may be sure that this awesome deed was done with a perfection possible only to the Infinite. “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.””

A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy