March 10, 2008

A Time To Reflect

It's quiet now... all are asleep, thank you Lord! I wanted to write some thoughts down from a book that I often go back to for encouragement, Behind a Frowning Providence by John J. Murray. It is amazing as I re-read the highlighted text that so spoke to my soul at the beginning of our journey 3 years ago and now, how they speak to me in a whole new light. 3 years... wow this small statement is enormous as I look back on all that God has brought us from and how He is still carrying us now. Your right, our trial is not hot and fiery at the moment; God has allowed us rest for a season, but even in this rest... He is still fine tuning areas of my life that don't quite reflect His beauty. My sweet and precious friend Cory and her dear friend Amyee have reminded me through their trials to never forget to look back at what God has done. Just as the Jews were reminded to remember what God had done for them and continued to do for them... He was never far away and yet nearer than they knew. So I mention all this to say that when our feet are not held to the furnace it is easy to get consumed with life and forget... not completely, it’s there just at the back of the heart but the closeness, dependence and that peace that surpasses all understanding and the sweetness once breathed daily fades with time. So it is good, it is very good to constantly look back and remember. John Murray says... “The ultimate solution is to cultivate nearness to God” “Far more important than any explanation for our suffering is nearness to God in our experience...This is the only way to get things into perspective.” Thomas Boston speaks of communion with God in providence. It is the Word that interprets providence. Providence is the outworking of the will of God in my life. It is because the psalmist was out of fellowship with God the he was in the condition he was in. He had things out of perspective. ‘I was as a beast before thee.’ When things were back in perspective he could say, ‘It is good for me to draw near to God.’ Our responsibility whatever our circumstances, is to keep on in the path of duty. People are usually more anxious to get rid of the problem than they are to find the purpose of God in it. ‘Affliction’, says Matthew Henry ‘are continued no longer than till they have done their work’. It is also our responsibility to pray that our afflictions will be sanctified to us. We must not be deceived by the current view that invites us to get rid of our troubles and sicknesses and then rejoice. The New Testament calls on us to rejoice in the midst of sufferings. Indeed we ought to be alarmed if we have not experience of suffering, for we suffer with Him that we may be glorified together. There is no glory without suffering. Our lives on earth resemble the workshop. We are in a place of preparation. My life has the chisel of God upon it. Our English word ‘character’ comes from a Greek word which means an engraving tool, a die for stamping an image. The trials of life can be God’s tool for engraving the image of his Son on our character. The experiences many not be enjoyable but they are profitable. Upstairs in glory God will display the finished articles... They will be like His Son. God’s people never sacrifice or suffer in vain. Our present suffering is an investment in future glory. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory. ‘How soon you will find’, says M’Cheyne, ‘that everything in your history, except sin, has been for you. Every wave of trouble has been wafting you to the sunny shores of a sinless eternity’. I hope this encourages you as it has for me these past three years... am I am thankful that the Lord has tenderly reminded me to remember where we have been together and how He has held me... because I know not where tomorrow may lead, but I know my Savior is there for me!

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