When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
Oh Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my Hope and Stay
this summer. was. hard. i know it looked on fun & games on instagram with me jet setting to pittsburgh and nashville on whims (well, those were planned, but maybe they looked whimsical.) there hasn’t been anything hugely, life threateningly hard. just life. at 51. just a lot of things not working out like i had told God i wanted them to work out. i am at least “mature” enough to know that one just doesn’t TELL God how things should work out (which does show a slight bit of growth on my part.) one just holds those things in a hidden part in her heart hoping that God doesn’t notice that my plans are firmly set in a certain direction for my life. an easy. comfortable. pleasant. direction. certainly that is what is best for me, right?
but darkness has hidden His face from me in a thousand small ways this summer. and i am sure His face was there, i just was more focused on looking at what He was denying to me to look for HIs face. the whelming flood (not overwhelming, just a whelming flood) has rushed over and drowned out my little hidden plans for my comfort and convenience. and it has been hard. i think because the death of anything is hard. especially death of your own plans. cause i am a good planner. i do so love to plan.
but God is a better planner. His plans are always more than i could ask or imagine. and always more difficult and dangerous than i would have planned. and in the end, more glorious and gracious. i know that. somewhere i know that. and somewhere deep inside me i trust that. though that trust is really only because it is all i have. “Lord, to whom else could we go?” at least i answer questions like a disciple. not that they did a stellar job of understanding what was going on… and neither do i. but i do know that only Christ has the Truth that is beautiful, life giving, and enough. for me. for my days. for whatever is next.
john 6… After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
johnny piper (i feel close enough to him to give him a snazzy nickname) has a lovely sermon that has this hard and beautiful passage in it about what the world needs from the church…
What they (people) need is to see and feel indomitable joy in Jesus in the midst of suffering and sorrow. “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” They need to taste that these church people are not playing games here. They are not using religion as a platform for the same-old, hyped-up self-help that the world offers every day. They need the greatness and the grandeur of God over their heads like galaxies of hope. They need the unfathomable crucified and risen Christ embracing them in love with blood all over his face and hands. And they need the thousand-mile-deep rock of God’s word under their feet.
summer is usually a time of unbridled joy for me… no schedule, no early mornings, no late nights. just naps, and netlix. but i find it strangely like God to have brought these times of sorrow to me in the midst of the joy of summer. He does know that i love that power of &…
On Joy and Sorrow
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
the one verse that i keep coming back to is one that i love because it has an & in it. and my life needs that &.
psalm 62: 11-12 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
& that you, O Lord, are loving.
i need the greatness and the grandeur of God over my heads like galaxies of hope. i need the unfathomable crucified and risen Christ embracing them in love with blood all over his face and hands. i need the thousand-mile-deep rock of God’s word under my feet. because all around my soul is threatening to give way. He is strong & He is loving.
i am sorrowful & i am always rejoicing. because everything sad is gong to come untrue. one. day.
the end of johnny’s sermon brings it to conclusion with my favorite chapter of the bible, romans 8.
It is no accident that Paul concluded the greatest chapter in the Bible — Romans 8 — with words that are designed pointedly to sustain your joy and my joy in the face of suffering and loss.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in [not instead of, but in!] all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31–39)
redeeming love has been my theme & shall be till i die…