“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.
As history has been unfurled,
One question ‘gainst the church has stood:
From whence came evil to this world
If God created all things good?
We grant some evil works for gain,
Some purpose may be found therein;
Yet is there not much needless pain,
Much suffering because of sin?
Could God not keep his world from death,
Or – bitter thought – might he desire
To curse those he hath filled with breath,
To see them sinking in the mire?
Or might it be that he allows
His people to rebel, to stray,
That they may truly then avow
His lordship, then may truly pray?
And could it be that majesty
Did not abandon to decay
Damned souls, but there upon the tree
Engaged in full the sinner’s fray?
Christ bore the wrath of God in place
Of those who chose the path to hell
That they might turn to seek the face
Of love, to taste the one true well.
God’s justice cometh like a flame,
And evil will not stand the show.
I may not know from whence it came,
But well I know where it will go.
(Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash)
Although breakups occur often in our culture, we don’t seem to know how to handle them well.
Pain is not without its purpose.
Tragedy still points to truth.
Terror may seem to usurp us,
Yet our God is not uncouth.
He, in sov’reignty, is moving.
Evil cannot halt his will.
Through the darkness, he is proving
Faithful. Let us then be still.
Nothing from his gaze is hidden.
He will never fail nor tire.
Evils come to us unbidden;
Evil will one day expire.
Suffer well, O worn believer.
See the larger plan unfold.
Trust the Father, blessed receiver.
He is purging you like gold.
Photo by Alex Jodoin on Unsplash
Has Batman ever reminded you of Jesus? That may be a bit of a longshot, I admit. But I think the question is worth asking. Continue reading
The humble ruler born to die did come
Desiring not the trappings of a king.
Far greater than all earthly glory’s sum,
He entered his own world through suffering.
Presuming not to take the place of prince,
He lived instead a life of sacrifice.
His poverty did make the wealthy wince,
Yet he was fit to pay the ransom price.
So well acquainted was he with our grief,
Afflicted by the wrath of God above.
The silent, slaughtered lamb has won relief,
And, by his wounds, he heals our hearts in love.
In service did the Master live and die
And rise to rescue lost ones from the lie.
How can I comfort those who mourn
Unless I learn to mourn myself?
For fellowship with those forlorn,
I must be taken from the shelf.
For there I sat so safe and calm,
But there I also gathered dust.
If this, my life, would be a balm,
Then I must learn that God is just
Not just in times of peace and rest,
But in my sorrow, sickness, strife.
If I would follow heaven’s best,
I will not have an easy life.
But through my broken heart, he speaks,
And through my suff’ring, Christ is seen.
If soon, with death, my body reeks,
My soul, by grace through faith, is clean.
So why would I avoid the pain
If, through the turmoil, faith is grown?
The struggle leads to priceless gain
As man’s despair is overthrown.
All things do work together for
The good of those He called in love,
And though we walk the road of war,
God reigns in sov’reignty above.
Oh how quickly we abandon
Our morality and will
When, to our complete confusion,
Circumstances strike us ill.
Ill-advised is our rebellion,
Yet the rebel’s part we play:
From disciple into hellion
When the storm invades the day.
Can we not remember glory,
That our Lord has won the fight?
Do we yet forget the story?
Light has broken through the night!
Suffering is light and fleeting
When compared to Christ above.
No bereavement, bane, or beating
Breaks the grip of God’s great love.
Persecution serves to purge us.
Suffering now sanctifies.
We are bought by Christ’s own purchase,
Seeing now with open eyes.
Therefore, we count joy our sorrow,
Singing praise in deepest pain.
Should we face our death tomorrow,
Even this is wond’rous gain.