Divine Love placed you where you are

One of my favorite quotes by Charles Spurgeon is one I think of weekly, sometimes daily. It’s easy to forget in the midst of trials and suffering that we are exactly where the Lord would have us to be. He is doing a good work, even when it doesn’t look or feel that way. His loving hand prunes us, allowing us to bear fruit.  This quote has become engrained in me, it’s a part of the way I process and think about my circumstances.  After sharing it with a friend yesterday I was reminded that I should post it here.

“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.” ~Charles Spurgeon

The context of this quote, one of Spurgeon’s “Evening” devotionals, is just as rich, reassuring and comforting to the hurting and feeble soul.

“Believer, if your inheritance be a lowly one you should be satisfied with your earthly portion; for you may rest assured that it is the fittest for you. Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. A ship of large tonnage is to be brought up the river; now, in one part of the stream there is a sandbank; should some one ask, “Why does the captain steer through the deep part of the channel and deviate so much from a straight line?” His answer would be, “Because I should not get my vessel into harbour at all if I did not keep to the deep channel.” So, it may be, you would run aground and suffer shipwreck, if your divine Captain did not steer you into the depths of affliction where waves of trouble follow each other in quick succession. Some plants die if they have too much sunshine. It may be that you are planted where you get but little, you are put there by the loving Husbandman, because only in that situation will you bring forth fruit unto perfection. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, “Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows.” Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. Down busy self, and proud impatience, it is not for you to choose, but for the Lord of Love!

‘Trials must and will befall-
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all;
This is happiness to me.'”

Christmas Reflections – I need a Savior!

lilandivychristmas2012

This Christmas was different for me.  Although Christmas is always a time of hope, and joy is found in that hope, it can also be a time when things that aren’t right about this world come to the surface and cause grief.  For me, my battle with migraines was at the forefront as I have had one more often than not now for about 2 months.  Because of this I’ve been, for the most part, laying low.  I did our Christmas shopping online and somehow avoided most of the glitter, and often times confusing messages that come with this season.  I had very little exposure to the world’s messages of Christmas and in many ways found my soul much more prepared to worship the king, born for us.  The trial in which I find myself has granted me a clear message.  I need a Savior!  (Talk about a timely Christmas message!)  This is obviously not a new message, but oh so clear and helpful.  The physical suffering I’ve been experiencing has been doing 3 things in me.

1.  The suffering is keeping me reliant.  I need the Lord to help me to persevere.  I need Him to strengthen and to grant perspective. The continuous migraines are helping me to walk minute by minute, hand in hand with Christ.  I need a Savior!

2.  The suffering is spotlighting my sin.  It doesn’t take much time when you’re feeling terribly to realize that you are sinful.  I’ve battled with anger, frustration, impatience, and the list goes on.  By God’s grace and help by the Holy Spirit, I pray that this sin is being uprooted!  I need a Savior!

3.  The suffering is helping me to cry out for/long for my Savior.  My body and soul are crying out to be saved from this broken world.  I am longing for heaven and for my Savior to take me there.  Come Lord Jesus, come quickly!  I need a Savior!

1 Peter 1:3-9  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

It’s a girl!!

So sorry for the delay!  We’ve been busy!  I’ll post some Easter Pictures and pic’s from Lillian’s 3rd Birthday party soon as well.  First things first though, we’re excited to announce that we’re having another girl!  So thankful that all is looking good with this sweet baby so far.  Praising the Lord for His many blessings to us!

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Asking for healing?

I found this sermon, by Kevin DeYoung really challenging and convicting as I’ve been convicted lately that I’m lacking in faith.  I’ve been wondering if the root of my lack of faith is the sin of unbelief.  It’s not that I don’t truly believe that the Lord can heal me, because of course when it comes down to it, I believe He is all powerful and able.  On the other hand, it seems that unbelief kind of creeps in and manifests itself in unexpected ways.  After 9 years of living with extreme fatigue, dizziness, etc., I’ve just gotten used to the trial before me and I forget to pray and ask for God’s healing.  I face each day, prayerfully relying on the Lord’s strength to get me through.  In a sense I’m more reliant than a healthy person because I carry around with me a constant reminder that I need help from my powerful God just to complete basic daily tasks.  Oddly enough, when someone is acutely sick, I am quick to pray for God’s healing hand to be about that person.  Honestly, I rarely think to pray for complete healing for myself anymore.

Early on in this battle the Lord began to graciously show me that I could find complete contentment in Him, no matter my circumstances.  I could either embrace my lot and seek to glorify God in the midst, or I could become embittered and frustrated, letting my circumstances rule my life.  By God’s grace, I’ve, for the most part, chosen the first way.  Maybe in a way I’ve grown too comfortable in this trial.  I wonder if I don’t ask for healing because I don’t want to be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. If I’m battling hard for contentment and (usually) winning the battle, why upset things by dwelling on healing?  On the other hand, I think I am called to ask my Father for good gifts and to believe that He indeed can heal me.  It may not be His will to heal me, and I must prepare my heart for this, but receiving a possible “no” as an answer shouldn’t keep me from asking.  It is good and right for me to be asking the Lord continually for healing.  He desires to give good gifts to His children!  I think this is one way where disbelief has certainly crept in, do I truly believe this?

I wonder how many of you wrestle with some of these thoughts/battles?  How do you strike a balance of good desires and asking for good gifts while at the same time humbly submitting to the Lord’s will in all things?

If you’ve wrestled with any of these thoughts, I’d encourage you to listen to this sermon by Kevin DeYoung.  I think it will encourage your heart and you may even find yourself bringing your requests before the Lord with a sense of urgency and confidence!

Matthew 7:7-11

  7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.    9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Hindered, or not?

Tonight as I re-read a chapter and poem by Amy Carmichael, I began to think.  My reality is that my illness prevents me from doing so many things on this earth.  Things I used to love to do (run, snow ski, hike…) and things I’d love to try or adventures I’d love to go on with our family.  Although these realities are difficult, and often bring about a sinful battle for contentment, I’m thankful that my weakness doesn’t impair the ability to fulfill my calling (my sin surely does, but that’s for another blog post!).  My single purpose and goal in life is to bring my Savior glory.  What a relief!!  In God’s kingdom, the one that truly matters, my frailty isn’t a hindrance to living the life that I’m called to live.

A bruised reed shall He not break: the poorest shepherd boy on our South Indian hills is careful to choose, for the making of his flute, a reed that is straight and fine and quite unbruised.  But our Heavenly Shepherd often takes the broken and the bruised, and of such He makes His flutes.  But life, like His book, is full of parables of tenderness; and one of these has often come into this room of late.  For he whose name means God’s Peace has brought his autoharp to play to me, and has first tuned it while I expectantly waited for the music which I knew would follow the tuning. 

    Is music to come from our harp?  Music of prayer, of praise, of consolation?  The strings are relaxed, or perhaps too tensely stretched.  Illness can cause either condition.  But we have a Tuner.

Tune Thou my harp;
There is not, Lord, could never be,
The skill in me.

Tune Thou my harp,
That it may play Thy melody,
Thy harmony.

Tune Thou my harp;
O Spirit, breathe Thy thought through me,
As pleaseth Thee.”  ~Amy Carmichael, “Rose from Briar

2 Cor. 12:9  “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”