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.
“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1, NIV).
God is a refuge and a fortress for those who seek Him.
Part of the life of faith is learning to turn to God with our troubles. This may seem like vanity, that we should think our little lives are of concern to the God of all the universe; but, actually, it is an act of faith. God adopts as His children those who come to Christ in faith, and He calls them to bring their needs to Him in faith. In prayer, we submit our lives to God and look to Him for deliverance.
What a privilege and a comfort it is to be able to entrust our futures to God. But that is what the life of faith is all about. Faith calls us to go against the world and trust God; faith calls us to surrender our hopes for prosperity in this life, and instead look to the future that God has promised. And faith calls us to turn to God in each and every situation and expect deliverance from Him, in His time, according to His wisdom.
So we take refuge beneath the wings of the Almighty. What, then, should we fear?
God is our security.
Bright sunrise and sere grey skies alike declare your glory with the rising of the day, O Majesty Divine. Father, Son, and Spirit, God so mysteriously one and three, be glorified in the rustling morning and in my rising heart. Turn my heart to you today. Fix my eyes on you as I go about my tasks, so that in labor and learning I will live in devotion to you. Strengthen and protect me, God Almighty, for your glory—Amen.
Father, Sustainer, every breath is your gift. Thank you for this day, and for this night. Thank you for all the comforts you’ve given, for every providential gift, for every caring relationship, for every grace and your mercies anew with the dusk and the dawn. God of redemption, Father, Spirit, and Son, thank you for the mercy of the cross and the life of the resurrection, and every grace into eternity—Amen.
Ever-Giving God, thank you for all the blessings of the day. Thank you for life and mercies anew; thank you for hope and salvation; thank you for your providential care and protection; thank you for the privilege of prayer. Watch me in the night as in the day, I ask. Be my shield and my defense, my strength and song. Keep me and comfort me with your love and faithfulness, God of my salvation—Amen.
Almighty God, thank you for the ordinary miracle of a new day’s dawning. Thank you for the extraordinary miracle of new life in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. We marvel at the love, that you the Highest and Holiest reach down to the lost and lowliest. Thank you for the marvel of your creating, sustaining, redeeming love. Pour out your mercy on me anew today, and set me on my feet to walk before you—Amen.
Father of all days, thank you for this day and for your loving care. Thank you for this season of celebration and the continued reminder of your gift of love, the incarnation of the Son by the Spirit for our redemption. Thank you for days of life and activity, for nights of rest and peace. Thank you for sunrise and sunset, and for your mercies so constant through all the changes of this life—Amen.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world” (Lk. 2:1, NIV).
Thus begins the simple story in the Gospel of Luke about the birth of Jesus. We can tell that this is an event happening in our world, for even though times change some things stay the same. The powerful still move people around at their pleasure; governments still want their taxes.
Caesar Augustus is the mover on the face of the story–the most powerful man in the world, leader of the Roman Empire. Yet he is himself subject to a higher power. Through Caesar’s decree, God is moving events so that His Messiah will be born in Bethlehem as promised. The world does not see, does not know, does not intend–but God’s will shall be done.
God has brought redemption into our dark world. He has done it in a way simultaneously startling and subtle. The world sees a peasant couple moved by the will of the powerful, a story too common to notice. Those who have the eyes of faith see the strange and wonderful work of God, the Savior born among the lowly for the salvation of all who believe.
How beautifully unexpected is the saving work of God.
Faithful and merciful God, thank you for your manifold mercies today. You are good, and you have been good to me, and your promises are good. Let the memory of your promises fulfilled long ago and of your faithfulness in my own days assure me of your faithfulness to all your promises to come. Let me rely utterly on your promises in my work and in my rest, and turn all things to your glory—Amen.
Thank you, God, for the descent of dusk, the rhythm of day and night, work and rest. Thank you for quiet hours and the calm of the sleeping world beneath the silver moon and stars. Lord of luminous day, Lord of slumbering night, be glorified in each and every part of creation. Be glorified in me. When all the world is quiet, let me be quiet too and mindful of your majesty so splendid beyond all words—Amen.