He knows our needs.
He promised to provide.
So worry not
Nor let your courage fail.
Flow’rs grow from seeds
After the seeds have died.
You will not rot.
In Christ, you will prevail.
In chapter fifteen of The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape writes to Wormwood that humans must be made to look to the future and must be kept from any focus upon eternity or upon the present. Screwtape, a wiser, older demon than Wormwood, explains that “nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead” (1). By keeping humans focused on the future they will be kept away from the designs of the Enemy, who desires humans to focus upon the present, upon eternity, upon himself, and upon their present work.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Presence can make the act of sitting through a terrifying movie more bearable. Presence can make a nervous child more courageous. Presence can strengthen and encourage in powerful ways.
Presence can also cause a tempted eye to avoid the glance. Presence can make a child who’s considering disobedience choose to obey. Presence can remind and convict in powerful ways.
Death will come for all men in the end.
None escape the final reckoning.
All who climb the mountains must descend.
All must heed th’ eternal beckoning.
Righteous men and wicked men alike
Fade at last into obscurity.
Actions matter not, for doom will strike
All. The grave remains a surety.
Is there gain in doing what is good?
Can we earn a single day of bliss?
We still die in doing what we should.
Vanity of vanities is this.
Yet the story need not end in vain.
Death does not possess the highest pow’r.
Life embodied died to end death’s reign.
Now we need not fear the final hour.
Slain upon a skull and then entombed,
Life partook in full the fatal drink.
Life then rose again, the curse consumed.
Hope now lives and nevermore will sink.
Therefore we have purpose in our ways,
For we follow him who doth transcend.
Christ has given meaning to our days.
Now we know that death is not the end.
The Lord’s unfailing faithfulness to men,
Steadfast in spite of their consistent sin,
Goes far beyond the guilt and shame within.
Grace reaches past the point of no return.
Hope speaks from lips we thought were taciturn.
We hear the Word, and souls begin to burn.
We know what we deserve; we feel our death.
We sense our separation from his life.
Yet though we fail with ev’ry fallen breath,
In Christ, we find salvation from the strife.
Take heart: this world of fear and death will fade.
Rest in the cross’ sanctifying shade.
What comes to your mind when you think of the Psalms?
Soul, be silent. Listen well.
Hope in God, and pray.
He who saved your soul from hell
Will bring you through this day.
Worry never. Doubt him less.
Know that he is God.
Learn to live in humbleness,
And trust your Shepherd’s rod.
Fix your focus. Do not shirk.
Stand as he has stood.
He will cause all things to work
Together for your good.
If this day should end in death,
Sing the last refrain.
Faithful to the final breath,
At last, to die is gain.
Asking for prayer is not just a sanctified sympathy request (though I often unconsciously see it that way). Continue reading
The heart that hurts to hold the hand
Of one who shares both heart and name
Can only ever understand
The purpose past the painful game
By fixing eyes upon the Lord
Who sov’reignly provides for needs
And knowing that the piercing sword
Is severing the sickly weeds
Which would corrupt the growing fruit
For which we labor, trust, and pray.
God sees the garden at the root
And guides us toward the light of day.
These tests, although they vex us so,
Have no eternal consequence
Save that they serve to stretch and grow
Our faith in God’s omnipotence.
Disrupting our complacency
And any semblance of control,
He opens up our eyes to see
That he alone can make us whole.
He takes from us what we would keep
To give us what we truly need.
All lack of supper, safety, sleep
Recalls to us the ancient creed,
That Christ has lived and Christ has died
And Christ returned to life again,
And God, not sparing him, supplied
Our cause for hope, our good, our gain.