Nothing comes our way without first passing through the loving hands of the Father

After days of anger and sorrow at the way things have been, I was encouraged by this thought: Nothing comes my way without first passing through the loving hands of the Father. My Lord had held the past year in the palm of His hands, considered it, and deemed it best for me that He let it happen. He, who promised that all things work out for the good of those who love Him. He, who refuses to let me be overwhelmed beyond that which I am able to bear without a way out. He, who as He cradled the past year in His hands, looked up at me with love in His glistening eyes and whispered that He knows the plan He has for me, and that they are meant to usher in hopeful days and a future. I may not see it, nor does it feel like it, but He knows. He knows that they will. That all that seems to harm will someday serve to prosper.

With the cry of a desperate man I find my way before the loving Father who listens with tenderness and grace. His hand of mercy pulls me out of the dark.

At His feet I am finding everything that I am.

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Intermission

I don’t write much here these days. Or at least not as much as I would like to. I blame in part the books that I’ve been given to lately. Letters and biographies that inspire little for writing to a general audience. Perhaps with the publication of A Country of My Own I’ve never stopped feeling like I’ve exhausted the patience of others with the vapidity of my thoughts. Circumspection marks much of my writing these days, at least on this page. That’s a sad thing to ponder. Words ought to be sincere, and I find little sincerity in writing anything worth your time that does not encourage you in some way. But life’s lessons of late have been birth from a battered heart, and I do not wish to burden you with that. Though I know it’s my way of avoiding a sorrow so deep that knows little of expressing.

And so I try to write something about the beauty of God. I like to believe I try to. But any attempt soon finds a literary cul-de-sac. The sentences refuse to form into anything meaningful. For of a life in God that washes upon the shores of perception, there is no image or shape. Nothing for the thinking mind’s comprehending grip. Words cannot express it, yet no tongue has sullied it. It all means more than I can tell you. So you must not judge what I know by what I find words for.

Most of my heart’s impressions no longer surmount the inconvenience of leaving the safety of my journal. But I would like to write here again. There is great joy in the thought.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea;
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me
.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me,
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there! The Risen Lamb,
My perfect, spotless righteousness;
The great unchangeable “I AM”,
The King of glory and of grace!
One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God,
With Christ, my Savior and my God.

A Leap of Faith

We have a brick retaining wall that runs for about sixty feet behind our house. Andrew, my five-year-old, has been dying to walk along the top of the wall since he was old enough to walk. This afternoon he took his maiden voyage.

At each end, the wall is about three feet high. From there it bumps up to five feet. In the center it is eight feet tall. The highest section runs for about thirty feet before dropping back down to five feet.

After a long and repetitive lecture about how he is never to climb up on the wall unless Daddy is watching, and after answering a series of questions regarding other adults that might be acceptable supervisors, I nervously set him up on the three-foot section of wall. Without hesitation he traversed the lower section. He managed to pull himself up to the five-foot section and had no problem there, either.

When he reached the highest section of wall, I could tell his confidence and bravado were waning. He walked almost the entire length of the wall before he finally looked down at me and said, “Daddy, I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Immediately, I stretched out my arms and said, “Jump.”

He looked at the wall. Then he looked at me. Then he looked back at the wall. And again down at me. He bent his knees slightly and said, “Are you going to catch me?”

To which I responded, “No, I am going to move at the last minute and let you fall to the ground.” Just kidding.

“Yes, Andrew,” I said. “I will catch you.”

Without another moment of hesitation, he jumped into my arms. When I started to put him down, he clung to my neck. So I stood there holding him for a few precious, insightful seconds.

When he jumped he was still very much afraid. But his confidence in me was stronger than his fear of jumping. He honoured me with his act of courage. There was never any question as to whether I could or would catch him. The issue was whether his confidence in me would supersede his fear. It did. And in that moment, I experienced in a small way what our Father experiences when we act on our faith in spite of our feelings and surroundings.

The higher the wall, the greater the honour.

Great visions are like high walls.


– Excerpt by Andy Stanley, Visioneering.

“I should be able to return to solitude each time as to the place I have never described to anybody, as to the place which I have never brought anyone to see, as the place whose silence has mothered an interior life known to no one but God alone.” – Thomas Merton