Tuesday, November 3, 2009

'Tis So Sweet

I know - a strange title for such a painful time in our lives. Summer and I have said since this journey began 3 weeks ago today that it is our prayer that all that we do and say would glorify the Father, even in the midst of our grief. This strength can only come from trusting a Savior who is mightier than ourselves.

This week I came across a hymn I haven't sung for a couple of years - 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word, just to rest upon His promise, just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

O how sweet to trust in Jesus, just to trust His cleansing blood, just in simple faith to plunge me ’neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus, just from sin and self to cease, just from Jesus simply taking life and rest and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend; and I know that Thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end.

Chorus: Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word..." may seem like shallow, mindless words spoken from a implausible faith. However, the woman who wrote these words had just lost her husband in a horrible drowning accident. "As Louisa Stead, her husband and their little daughter were enjoying an ocean side picnic one day, a drowning boy cried for help. Mr. Stead rushed to save him but was pulled under by the terrified boy. Both drowned as Louisa and her daughter watched helplessly. During the sorrowful days that followed, the words of this hymn came from the grief stricken wife’s heart".(Osbeck, K. W.) "Louisa was left without any means of support and she and her daughter were quickly in dire poverty. One day when there was no food in the house and no money to purchase any, Louisa opened the front door to find someone had left groceries and money sitting there for her. That same day she sat down and wrote 'Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus...'".

These are words that could be only spoken out of brokenness. In recent days I have come to understand with greater meaning how sweet it is to trust in Jesus, just as Louisa had. This is the blessedness which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will inherit the kingdom of Heaven." It is only when you allow yourself to completely surrender that which you knew you didn't posses all along - control - to the One Person who has all "power and authority in heaven and on earth". That's when you become poor in spirit. Sometimes it takes an event like Louisa's - a death of a loved one. Certainly Summer and I have experienced brokeness in recent weeks, but at the same time, I feel as though there is so much more I need to be broken of, so much more I need to surrender.

God will continue to bring the sanctifying experiences into our lives - they are different for every person. Not everyone needs a death of a child to draw them closer to God - but everyone will experience times of fire and trial. These come not because God loves to see His creation suffer. He doesn't cause it - He didn't cause our child to have Potters Syndrome. The same love in which He gave His Son to die on our behalf is the same love that allows us to choose to believe in Him (instead of forcing us to choose Him). It is also the same love that allows, not causes, death and pain to happen. He allowed Adam and Eve to sin and this sin brought about disease and death. So then - the same love that allows choice also allows pain.

For sure, the pain that is experienced by all can be used for good - but this brings me back to the trust part. The only way that pain can truly bring about good for people is for people to trust in Jesus. Romans 8:28 states that, "...we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him...". This is the hope which Summer and I have - that God is working this out for our good, and it is through our love of and trust in Jesus that allows the good to be demonstrated in our lives. This is the sweetness of trusting in Jesus - and our lives have and will continue to prove Him over and over, not because of anything that we have done or will do, but because of what He has done for us.

Is the pain still real and present in our lives? Yes. But if it were not for the pain, the little boy who got his hand too close to the fire would not know his hand were burnt and would thus not cry out for his parents to come, to help heal the wound and hold him in his pain as a parent does so many times for their hurting child. Without the pain, he might not know when his hand becomes infected from the burn and he could loose it.

In the same way, we cry out to our Heavenly Father to come - heal our wound and soothe us by holding us close. In this we become poor, acknowledging that He is the only One who can heal and hold us and we maintain our whole self (body and soul) without loosing a part. And, according to Matthew 5, that is a blessed place to be.

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