I’m experimenting with blogging at Medium; it looks like I can get ad-free without having to pay for it or be hidden by a paywall. Anyway, here’s my first post over there, a brief meditation on the comfort that comes from knowing God’s providential control.
Be near to us, blessed Father, through the hours of night. We live in the glory of the resurrection life; but we walk in the night of the world, still awaiting the fulness of redemption. Be near, to guard and guide our steps, and bring us safely into the eternal light of your consummated kingdom. Your victory is certain and your throne unshakable. Be glorified in the people you have won for yourself, God Most High—Amen.
God Almighty, you are our hope and trust. In seasons of waiting, in days of darkness, you remain our Rock unshakable. No power can contest you, no subtlety outwit you, no evil overwhelm you. Have mercy on our weakness, and point us always to your strength. Teach us to trust you, for you are supremely trustworthy, and to call on you, for you are strong to save. Shelter us, Mighty God—Amen.
Spirit of Life, you hovered over the chaotic waters at creation; and can your power be stopped by the machinations of men? They made the Lord’s tomb as secure as they knew how! Nothing can stand opposed to you. On this day of expectation, calm our hearts with the joy and peace of hope in your unassailable life. Spirit of Power and Grace, grace us with your powerful presence in our moments of need, and let us wait on you.
“Bright with Hope”
How you sing,
Here in our gloom and tragedy,
All we see is
Sickness and fear,
No sense of solace, no glimmer
That God is near.
How you sing!
You are the hint
Of better things in view
Of life renewed, bright tints abloom,
Of newness springing through, beyond
Our grief and gloom.
Here you sing,
Amid our sorrow,
Unabashed, bright with hope
We will not fear.
Where do we find the strength and confidence to stand firm against opposition, to stand strong in times of fear and uncertainty?
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2, NIV).
We are small, fragile and easily frightened. But there is a blessed Therefore, because of which we can stand in the face of chaos. Wherefore? Because God is our refuge and strength. Because He is an ever-present help in trouble.
The children of God do not face life’s tragedies and terrors alone. We do not face the shaking of nations in our own strength. No, we can lean upon the arms of the Almighty. Wherever we are and whatever we face, we can call out to the omnipresent, omnipotent God.
And we are confident, knowing His loving care. The Father sent His own Son as a sacrifice for our redemption; won’t He hear us when we call?
What shall we say in times of fear and uncertainty? We will not fear. Why not? God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Rain is in the air,
and green upon the grass, upon
the lichened limbs and trunks of trees,
green of impending spring, eager
from the wash of rain; the buds chafe
to blush with lush again
and earth and sky forgets the plague,
forgets the curse, so breathless
to rehearse the yearly pageant of
the fall’s reverse.
Prophesy, you cleansing rains,
you greening fields and prickling buds!
Make of our memento mori
the promise of new life to be.
Just a quick list of a few things to help with the self-isolation of the pandemic:
- Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe (and everything else on Avrotros Klassiek)
- The Black Book of Carmarthen
- One-Star Reviews of National Parks (#11 is my favorite)
- Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories by Magpie Audio
- The paintings of Thomas Cole
- Most importantly, The Holy Bible
For there is no comfort to compare with the Word of God:
“The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, NIV)
Savior, let me walk in your footsteps today. You came into our world of misery and brought healing and hope; let me be a messenger of hope to the hopeless, and an instrument of healing to those who suffer. Give me compassion, as you have poured out your compassion on me, and energy for all that lies before me. And help me not to act on my own strength, but to do all things in reliance on your mighty power, God Most High.
“But the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of the Christians is a God of love and consolation: he is a God who fills the soul and heart of those whom he possesses: he is a God who makes them inwardly aware of their wretchedness and his infinite mercy: who unites himself with them in the depths of their soul: who fills it with humility, joy, confidence and love: who makes them incapable of having any other end but him.” (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, Penguin Classics Edition, p.169)
So often people do not hear or grasp the depths of salvation and the character of God. We neglect the wonder of the gospel, the great treasure that in Christ God draws us to Himself, as Pascal says, “unites himself with them in the depths of their soul”. Christianity is a whole-life thing; it is a re-centering of the whole life around God. This is not some tragic loss–the world only offers emptiness and death anyway. This is a wonder of joyful transformation, that we may be made “incapable of having any other end but him.” We do not grasp salvation unless we grasp this glory of redemption, that in salvation God makes Himself our all.