Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Trouble that Lifts us Closer to Heaven

"As you do not know what is

the way of the wind,

Or how the bones grow in

the womb of her

who is with child,

So you do not know

the works of God

who makes everything.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

Yesterday I wrote a blog post, but felt utterly unable to post it. The post wouldn't really reflect my true thoughts, because I was a hypocrite. It was one of those days when I woke up with a migraine and the day went downhill from there. You know, one of those ice-pack on the head kind of days?

By the end of the day, though, I saw once again the futility of trying to have things my way. I sought desperately for a fresh word of encouragement from God. I found an old writing, from 1659, on the BlueLetter Bible website, called The Mute Christian under the Smarting Rod by Thomas Brooks. Yes, I'd been under a smarting rod alright! Brooks' writing was antiquated, to be sure, but even the dedication resonated with me:

"To all afflicted and distressed, dissatisfied, disquieted, and discomposed Christians throughout the world.

(Yes, those words certainly described me...)

Dear Hearts,—The choicest saints are 'born to troubles as the sparks fly upwards’, Job v. 7. 'Many are the troubles of the righteous;' if they were many, and not troubles, then, as it is in the proverb, the more the merrier; or if they were troubles and not many, then the fewer the better cheer. But God, who is infinite in wisdom and matchless in goodness, hath ordered troubles, yea, many troubles to come trooping in upon us on every side. As our mercies, so our crosses seldom come single; they usually come treading one upon the heels of another; they are like April showers, no sooner is one over but another comes. And yet, Christians, it is mercy, it is rich mercy, that every affliction is not an execution, that every correction is not a damnation. The higher the waters rise, the nearer Noah's ark was lifted up to heaven; the more thy afflictions are increased, the more thy heart shall be raised heavenward."*
*Brooks' words italicized

I had just written something quoting that exact verse from Job, thinking about the many sparks have flown up during the course of my life. But Brooks said the troubles follow one another like April showers, but these troubles lift us up ever closer to heaven. If only I can believe that He is in the midst of them, with me. Even though I don't deserve it.

After arguing with my husband ( I hate to admit it), I was glad to see the day come to a close. I found a few freebie downloads for my Kindle, written by the hymn writer Frances Ridley Havergal. One of them was about the hymn (to which she wrote the lyrics) Take My Life and Let it Be. Havergal encouraged me in Chapter One when she wrote that we can't even trust our own trusting ourselves to Him, but we can trust Him to do in us that which we can't do for ourselves. In other words, He alone consecrates our lives to Him, if only we are willing. Once again, the word of His grace built me up.

I awoke this morning to the thought that this was a new day, and instead of wallowing for the bad day yesterday, the promises of God were ever fresh and new. I knew I didn't deserve anything from God, so it helped me to forget expecting anyone else to act deserving either. My headache was gone, too.

Christ's death on the cross for my personal sins, His burial and resurrection reminded me that I too, have resurrection life as a totally free gift. Every day is a fresh new day to start over, no matter how many times needed, looking away from myself and unto Him. As Thomas Brooks says, the multiple trials only draw my ark closer to Heaven. One day soon, time will be no more and all the things I got so worried and worked up over will no longer matter.

Only beholding Him will matter then. For:

"As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness." (Psalm 17:15)

I hope these words may help someone else who has an ark of difficulties reaching toward heaven. If you want to read encouragement from stories of victorious Christians from all throughout the Church Age, you may want to check out my new book Sure Mercies: Hope for the Suffering available here: and also on Amazon:

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