Monday, August 8, 2011

God is faithful

O my goodness, how wonderfully, amazingly true are the words of this beautiful hymn!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be...

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

I'd intended to write about this in the morning, but my heart is so full now I can barely contain it. Indeed, earlier in my evening prayers, before I'd known about this, I'd told God that words are so inadequate for describing His greatness, and my love and gratitude to Him; suddenly these words just popped out of my mouth: "Heavenly Father, I cannot express how full my heart is for You". And the tears came to my eyes unbidden, for such eloquence is certainly not naturally mine.

The fact is, I'd been waiting some time now to find out about something; taking into account the weekend and the upcoming public holiday, I'd already resigned myself to the fact that I'd probably have to wait till at least Thursday or Friday.

Well, shallow "Christian" me of the past would have died a million deaths worrying every minute of every day till Thursday came, indulging in every form of negativity and self-pity possible. But o praise God, praise God! I did not.

He kept me calm and peaceful, confident in Him -- o God, indeed "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You" (Isa 26:3).

So instead, born-again Christian me spent time doing stuff with the kids, making fake food and dollhouses, shopping for a friend's birthday present, taking Kip for a long walk -- indeed, fully enjoying the present, and all the wonderful blessings God has showered upon me. And of course I had my prayer times as usual, which was what I'd originally intended to write about.

For the past couple of nights my devotions have been so accordant and harmonious, I felt certain in my spirit they were divinely-inspired messages for me. I read more than one book of devotions during my prayer times, you see; they are quite unrelated -- one book is meant for an entire year, so each devotion is dated. The other book isn't dated, so I just read a chapter each time.

Well really, I can't pretend that I was completely peaceful 100% of the time, for you know what they say about old habits, so imagine how I felt when I read in both books the following verses:

"Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah.

And Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord [yearning for Him with all their desire].

... For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" (2 Chr 3-12).

And then, last night, in the one book:

"You have put more joy and rejoicing in my heart than [they know] when their wheat and new wine have yielded abundantly.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust" (Ps 4:7-8).

And in the other:

"Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" (John 14:27).

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] (John 16:33).

What reassurance, what encouragement, what lifting up! I went through my day serene and peaceful, marvelling at God's goodness. I was truly learning to say, whenever I was tempted to fret or worry: "However things may appear or seem, God is with me and He will see me through".

I said my prayers for the evening (where I told God "how full my heart is for Him"), and then casually glanced over my emails. And lo and behold, days before I expected it, there was an email just arrived, containing the information I'd been waiting for, telling me that all is well.

I cannot begin to describe how awestruck with gratitude I was/am, if such a phrase makes sense. In the immediate, I was almost speechless and all I could do was gabble, "Thank you Father, thank you thank you thank you".

And then I felt strongly in my spirit that I must share this with you, even at 3am, to cheer you and lift you up, to encourage you to keep your peace and press on, whatever it is you're enduring, however things may seem. God is good and faithful, He hears your prayers, He knows what you're going through, and He says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you" (Isa 43:2).

Press on, press on -- focus on the higher life and developing the mind of Christ, for we are already "more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us" (Rom 8:37).

"BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits --

Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!" (Ps 103:1-5).

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