There is a God, unfath’mable,
Whom many do not know.
Dark forces work continually
So that our faith won’t grow.
They work on unsuspecting minds
And turn our thoughts away
From heavenly things, from angel’s wings;
Mankind’s their greatest prey.
There is a God Whose love is deep,
Who knows our ev’ry care.
He woos us with a perfect love;
His love is everywhere.
He never lies; nor does he cheat,
Nor practice any foul deceit.
He will not force His ways on us,
But waits in patience so discreet.
A love that’s forced can never be;
A real love must be free choice.
For freely chosen love’s the way
We’ll enter heaven and rejoice.
Has its ups and downs —
The smiles and the frowns,
The spooks and the clowns,
Disgraces or crowns.
Snakes or bugs,
Scorpions or slugs,
Crows or eagles,
Mosquitos or seagulls.
Has climate and weather,
The storms and the thunder,
Hurricanes or earthquakes,
Humidity or drought.
Has interesting neighbors
Who do you kind favors,
They help with their labors,
And pick up your papers.
Has frowning faces —
Won’t give you the time,
To judgment inclined,
Won’t lend you a dime.
Has pleasures and dangers —
Or are they both one?
Pleasure can be danger
Has its moments
Of goodness and closeness,
Of fear or of faith,
Of love or of hate.
Give me hope,
So with life I can cope —
To keep a deep peace
As my faith You increase.
(Based on Ephesians 6:10-17)
Please gird my loins with Your truth,
Please grant me the breastplate of Your righteousness,
Let me walk in the readiness of the shoes of the gospel of peace,
And let me carry the shield of faith in You;
Let it extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
With the helmet of Your salvation,
Protect me from lies, half-truths, falsehoods, and deceptions,
From fear, worry, negativity, and anxiety,
From pride, arrogance, and prejudice.
Grant me, Lord, protection from
Depression, discouragement, dejection, desperation, and despair.
And I ask for the sword of Your Spirit,
Which is Your Word.
Let me read it, re-read it, memorize it,
Chew on it, meditate on it, digest it, and contemplate it.
Let me sing it out, shout it out,
Proclaim it and acclaim it,
But most of all, help me to LIVE Your Word.
Cottony clouds and lullabies,
Seagulls wings and loud crow cries,
Blustery winds and rustling leaves —
Wondrous — and a joy are these.
Birds a-flockin’, squirrels a mockin’,
Kitten cries and puppy sighs,
People, ‘spite their sins and lies —
Glory, though appearance belies.
Storm and calm, a laugh and tear,
Worry, confidence, faith and fear.
Things aren’t always as they appear.
Through it all, God must be near.
When my parents were World War II refugees, they lived in various Displaced Persons camps run by the U.S. and other Allies. Sometimes it would be so cold that there was frost on the INSIDE walls of their “accommodations”. (I don’t know exactly what their living quarters were like,) At some point in there, my older brother (a baby!), one paternal uncle, and my paternal grandmother also lived in the same camp(s). At least they had shelter! Traumatic as it all was, thank you Allies (and, ultimately, God), for keeping my family alive! Others, as you know, suffered considerably more: in concentration camps, in battles on land, sea, and sky, and elsewhere.
LIFE IS A GIFT! And, I’m so grateful to live in a home with heat and hot water.
Corrie ten Boom was in a concentration camp during World War II, because her family had hidden Jews in their home. She decided to take seriously the Scripture, “… give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), so she gave thanks for the fleas in her barracks. Sooner or later, she learned that the guards would avoid her barracks as much as possible, because of the fleas. In that way they did not get as much abuse as they might have. Perhaps most of us are not as faith-filled as Corrie ten Boom, but there is certainly a lesson to learn from her.
War is probably horrific for everyone touched by it, but perhaps it’s appropriate to also remember the positives.
Why do some (or perhaps all of us) encounter great trials and tribulations? I propose a few reasons here, several or all of which could occur together:
- We are being tested by God. It can be an opportunity for growth, to trust in Him more.
- We are being chastised by God. ” … for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and chastises every child whom He accepts.” (Hebrews 12:6). This is a good thing, because it shows that God loves us enough to correct us.
- We are suffering for our own or other people’s poor choices. We make bad decisions, or others take out their frustrations on us.
- It’s just part of the fallen human condition. Because of original sin, we all suffer consequences such as illness, accidents, death, etc.
No matter the reason, we must trust that God is with us through these difficulties. I don’t see any other reason to hope.
With failure stamped across my brow,
In mercy I must trust somehow.
With guilt and sorrow so forlorn,
My trust in God must be reborn.
On only Him must I depend,
Else tragedy my soul will rend.
With Jesus I must place my fate,
His righteousness, His justice great.
If on myself I lean too hard,
Perhaps I’ll fall, like house of cards.
In Jesus will I now believe —
My soul to save, my angst relieve.
It’s really not your fault –
Perhaps my fated cross.
Some days I live in clinging fog;
I swim as if in thickest bog.
And yet I see a Light
That keeps me in the fight.
Won’t God His precious promise keep?
He’ll surely make my soul complete.
Poor thinking got me here –
Poor thinking, and much fear.
Must reconstruct my mind;
New truths I need to find.
And here’s were God comes in –
His life must grow within.
His Word I must digest
And of my fear divest.
The past I must let go;
The lies and fears forego.
The resurrection nears –
Let there be joyful tears!
I must believe God’s faithful love,
Else madness will my soul o’ertake.
If on myself I fix my eyes,
Despair will be my sorry fate.
I must believe, though I could choose
An easier path; with tide to swim,
To let opinion rule my life
And let the light within me dim.
I must believe the words God speaks,
When worldly cares do contradict.
As storm does rage; no shelter found —
But in God’s boat, all grace begins.
I must believe, and then one day
A shining light will lead my soul.
No longer strife and stress to sway,
My life at last found healed and whole.
What made America great?
People with a faith, lived well —
Not those who merely said the words,
But from their lives, their faith would tell.
What made America great?
People who did persevere —
Through sickness, famine, poverty;
Through trials, hardships, deadly fear.
Have we lost the vision now?
Too cynical, too rich, somehow?
Too comfortable and too well-fed;
Too easy life, our sin to dread?
Then faithful voices, being quenched;
The kind, the gentle, with poison drenched.
Poison of criticism, poison of hate —
The voices of reason, many berate.
But lest we despair, let’s now give pause.
For all of this, there is a cause.
The devil knows his time is short;
All reason, love, he will abort.
When times are dark,
When love’s light dims,
Look for the light
You’ll find in Him.
(I believe the phrase
“Light so bright that it’s dark”
is an idea from St. John of the Cross.
We must have faith that all will be well.)
Don’t know why I continue existing –
So much is so incomprehensible.
Can’t seem to see my purpose –
Nothing I see ever sensible.
Perhaps I’ll only learn
My reason for being on earth
If I should enter heaven –
Then light will shine on my birth.
My childhood seems so alien —
Can’t really believe that was me.
Why was I born in that time, that place?
Where was the shining sunbeam?
Why have I floundered through densest fog?
Why merely muddled along?
Why did I amble so aimlessly?
That solitary sojourn so long?
So much is so incomprehensible —
No clarity of sight.
God wants me to trust Him –
Through light so bright that it’s dark.