Troubles, Situations, Worry, even Gloom?

Filed on 21 July 2018 in Food For Thought category. Print This Page

Troubles, Situations, Worry, even Gloom?

The Apostle Paul knew of them. In his second letter to the church at Corinth he wrote:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. (2 Cor 1:8,9).

The poet William Cowper wrote from his own experiences of troubles and his poetry and songs remind us of how we might see things from a different perspective. We can all do with his reminders as per this well-known piece…

Where is God in all this?

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Right, so God is great and mysterious and all-powerful, but how does that help me?

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.

Okay, He works things out according to His plan, but how does that help me?

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Okay, a promise for the future but right now, in my circumstance, that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

Well yes, God is in control, but how long, O Lord?

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Thank you, and I will hang on to that hope. But it’s so hard when I look at what has been happening.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

It is worth looking at the life of William Cowper and I have only just “discovered” (for me) John Piper’s wonderful article

In conclusion let’s hear from Paul again:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:17,18)

And last, but not least, after Cowper’s death, from his wonderful friend John Newton (yes, of Amazing Grace fame) who together with Cowper wrote the Olney Hymn Book:

The Lord’s thoughts and ways are so much above ours, that it becomes us rather to lie in the dust in adoration and praise than to inquire presumptuously into the grounds of his proceedings.

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