Thursday, 24 November 2016
"Extraordinary afflictions are ... sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces .... for the polishing of His jewels; and those He especially loves and means to make the most resplendent, He hath oftenest His tools upon." --Archbishop Leighton
I agree with the first half--up to "jewels"--but is it true God loves some more than others, and wants to make some more "resplendent" than others? I don't think so. I think He loves all his children, and indeed loves and longs and grieves for those who do not accept him as their Father. And I think he wants to make all his children resplendent, each in his or her own unique way as he has lovingly created them and guided them, to be a part of his body. Even, as the scripture says, we are to give extra honour to those parts that are hidden from sight. Every part has a vital role to play to keep the whole body united and healthy, and in God's plan and sight, all God's children are thus to be equally resplendent. If there is a dimming of resplendency, it is our own choice, not God's. And we are called to equally honour both those who are resplendent in the perspective of earthly viewpoints and also those who seem "less" in earthly terms. Each one has an equal seat of honour in the sight of God--and an equal portion of humility too: the least shall be greatest and the greatest shall be least.
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
"There is a perfect passivity which is ... a living stillness born of trust. Quiet tension is not trust. It is simply compressed anxiety." (Streams in the Desert, April 7)
I have experienced both. Sometimes it is hard for me to tell which state I am in. I think, though, that over the past few years since my "great depression" You've been moving me out of the "compressed anxiety" which I forced upon myself to preserve myself, into the "living stillness" which is only from resting in You. A stillness which I cannot "psyche myself" into but which comes only from You as I finally start to "lay my burdens down" and "rest in You" and trust You. Bit by bit, moment by moment: it surely hasn't been an instantaneous experience for me. And I doubt it is really for anyone. I worry about stories where people say they "laid it all at the foot of the cross" and their burdens rolled away and everything has been lovely ever since. Maybe that happens for a few people, but is that really how we get to the depths--by one glorious momentary experience? I am pretty sure it's a journey....
Even after death, and resurrection to our new eternal life with God, will we know it all instantly, know Him totally in a moment, or will we be growing in Him for all eternity? God is so great, and we are only creatures. I think there'll still be so much growing into knowing Him to do. Forever. Well, that's what it seems like to me, anyway. Lord?
Tuesday, 15 November 2016
"Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all that truly turn to him."
I have to admit I love the old-fashioned words and expressions in the old Anglican Common Prayer book. "Comfortable!" It does mean "comforting" but it's more than that--it has the sense of being with a beloved family member you are totally comfortable with and totally trust. And it even has a shade of meaning similar to how I feel about the cozy old blue chair ("my" chair!) that I'm curled up in right now, where I feel safe and warm, and have spent many happy hours reading and writing and visiting.
Anyway, some of Jesus' comfortable words: (and they truly are!):
"Come unto me all that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you." Matthew 11:25
"So God loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
And Paul's words:
"This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." I Tim 1:15 (My grandpa's favourite verse)
And John's words:
"If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 2:1
Comfortable words indeed!