Thursday, August 26, 2010

In The Hours of Pain and Sorrow

Psalm 107 is a Psalm of praise, exhorting the Redeemed of the Lord to say so... to proclaim the steadfast love of the Lord in saving and preserving them.  He gathers His people from far away and leads them on a straight path, satisfying the longing of their soul.  Sometimes, He leaves them in prison and bows them down with hard labour, or turns their rivers into a desert. 

Psalm 107:33
He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.

Why?  Because He loves them and He is working all things together for good for those who love Him.  As Matthew Henry says, "If Christ be ours, all things, one way or another, shall be for our eternal good."

So how are we to react to the hours of pain and sorrow?   By knowing that the same God who turns rivers into a desert can and will turn a desert into pools of water.

35 He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.

God alone knows what is best.  He alone is able to teach us to trust Him fully.  He is our shield in times of temptation, our shelter in a weary land.  He knows what it is to be despised and forsaken, to suffer want, to be mocked and smitten and reviled.  He also knows that we are blessed when we partake of His sufferings in some small way.

Ps. 119:65 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.
71  It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

God has a good purpose in the hours of pain and sorrow.  Trust Him. 
No matter what you are facing, remember that God is able to deliver you, 
and He will deliver you , in His good time.

The last verse of Psalm 107 is a good reminder.
43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord

1. In the hours of pain and sorrow,
When the world brings no relief
When the eye is dim and heavy,
And the heart oppressed with grief
While blessings flee, Savior Lord we trust in Thee!
While blessings flee, Savior Lord we trust in Thee!

2. When the snares of death surround us,
Pride, ambition, love of ease
Mammon with her false allurements,
Words that flatter, smiles that please
Then ere we yield, Savior Lord be Thou our shield
Then ere we yield, Savior Lord be Thou our shield

3. When forsaken in distress,
Poor despised and tempest-tossed
With no anchor here to stay us,
Drifting, sail and rudder lost
Then save us Thou, who trod this earth with weary brow
Then save us Thou, who trod this earth with weary brow

4. Thou the hated and forsaken,
Thou the bearer of the cross
Crowned of thorns and mocked and smitten,
Counting earthly gain but loss
When scorned are we, We joy to be the more like Thee
When scorned are we, We joy to be the more like Thee

5. Thou the Father's best beloved,
Thou the throned and sceptered King
Who but Thee should we adoring,
All our prayers and praises bring?
So blessed are we, Savior Lord in loving Thee
So blessed are we, Savior Lord in loving Thee
© 2007 Kevin Twit Music (ASCAP).
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My weird man

My hubby had his birthday today.  He is now officially one year away from being old.  At 59, he has gone through a variety of ailments, such as a sebaceous cyst the size of a golf ball, bladder cancer, and just recently, a torn or damaged Achilles tendon.  Sigh.

He's a bit strange.  Let me list a few things that back up my opinion.

He has a lot of trouble changing seasons.  He wears shorts and sandals well into the fall, putting on a sweater when necessary, but denying the dropping temperature.  In the spring, he has trouble giving up his warm sweaters and hats and gloves.

He insisted on installing central air conditioning, yet makes sure there's a fan running in the bedroom.  At the same time, he likes to have a comforter on the bed year round, no matter how warm he is.

He thinks Black Forest Cake is health food.

He must have ice cream on a fairly regular basis, even though he has trouble with dairy.

He needs crackers.  With salt.  It doesn't matter that there is zero nutrition associated with soda crackers.

He likes his toys, and expects his family to like them as much as he does.  He has boats and tanks and a helicopter.  He has a Jack Bauer figure, and an old pink Teddy Bear from his childhood.  He's got a Smurf and some pez figures, a Gandalf and a Toy Story Dinosaur.  Some day, he'll leave them all to his grandchildren.

He's a bit weird - but he has some great qualities, too.  He's the most loyal guy I know.  He is steadfast and immovable when it comes to friends and family, and you've got to really treat him badly before he'll write you off.  He considers his friends from 40 years ago to still be his friends, even though he hasn't seen them in four decades.  He's always been here... he'll always be here.  He's a rock.

He is a builder.  He gets an idea in his head, and follows it through, no matter what.  Even if his family doesn't catch the vision, he can see what he wants to accomplish, and he plows on through.  I look around this old house and  I have evidences in every corner that he's a builder - the Great Room, the garage, the barn, the shed, the deck... he gets an idea, and he does it.  His family benefits.  His children have learned to wield a hammer, to design and plan projects, to use tools.  We all have enjoyed the fruits of his labour.

He is a dreamer.  He's always wanted a boat.  He wants to take his kids and grandkids out on a huge boat, so that they can enjoy the water as he did when he went out with his dad, many years ago.  Maybe some day he'll get his boat.  For now, the kids and grandkids will have to enjoy the pool instead.  Enjoy it, they do!

Today is his birthday - he's 59.  I close my eyes and see him as a shy 17 year old.  I remember the look of love when he first told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  The years have flown by.

Today also marks the 21st anniversary of our possession of this old house.  It's been 21 years since we moved in and celebrated Daddy's birthday on the kitchen floor, because we still didn't have our furniture out of storage.  Twenty-one years; many joys; many tears.

Twenty-one years before our move, I met this man who was destined to be my life's partner.  I've known him 42 years now, and shared everything with him - the birth of 12 children; the loss of one... the sorrows of rebellious teens, the joys of grandparenting.

I wonder what the next 21 years will bring.

Happy Birthday, Rick.  I love you.