“When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:9-10
“A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me… Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
A predawn storm growled, grumbling thunder and pelting rain. The front trudged by, leaving dawn’s early light in its wake, beams poking and streaming through leftover wet charcoal-smudged clouds. Pools of light and grace always shine hope in drenching wet and fleeting shadows.
And don’t we live in a day of darkened confusion and consternation? Storms of violence, physical and emotional, growl and pelt. Testing through spiritual attack, confusion, grief, and loss take their toll, but bring glorious ends. We, as well as gold, are refined in fire. In the heat of burn and weakness, of caustic words, angry threats, and roiling doubts, is where God shows up with magnificent, indescribable grace. Pools from above spill and soothe, cool and glisten. His lovingkindness enfolds and holds us without letting go, proving once again that He is enough for our every trouble, and trustworthy.
What casts a foreboding shadow on our life today? What enemies lurk and plot, what affliction assails, what hurts won’t stop stinging? God envelops them all in His sovereign plan and effulgent grace. We need not fear the storms, nor flee forecasts of opposition. The Lord penetrates each with His ineffable light, and bids us forward– for we are not alone– to do the next right thing. Will we venture out, and go deep and far in His pools of grace, so He can complete all He intends? (Isaiah 14:24)
“We rest on thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
strong in thy strength, safe in thy keeping tender,
we rest on thee, and in thy name we go.
Yea, in thy name, O Captain of salvation!
In thy dear name, all other names above:
Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,
our Prince of glory and our King of love.
We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
and needing more each day thy grace to know:
yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
‘We rest on thee, and in thy name we go’.
We rest on thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, thine shall be the praise;
when passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
victors, we rest with thee, through endless days.” ~Edith G. Cherry (1895)
My Defender and Redeemer, keep me immersed in Your grace, drinking from Your fount and taking refreshment in Your sufficiency. Fill me so I may go forth in strong, righteous living and overflow in bold, joyful praise, for Your sake and glory.