In the month of May, I committed to sharing posts from others that have encouraged, inspired and challenged me. But today on my Mum’s 68th birthday (my Mum went to be with Jesus April 8th, 2014), the LORD again returned this post to me – because one of you liked it (thank you for being God’s gift!!) – and I knew I had to share it with you all again – a third time because of what just unfolded.
When I looked to see what post was being liked, I was so overwhelmed. Why? Because Bettie had just eerily emailed me of something so similar unfolding for her: as God placed a rainbow before her, the first she’s seen since her move, when she so needed God’s reminder that when we are faithless, He is the God who is faithful FOR us.
And then as I listened to the song I had included here, I decided to send it to a friend in Washington state, but God at the last moment brought another friend in Indiana to mind also, so I sent it to her too. What I didn’t know is that her Mama went to be with Jesus hours earlier – and now my dear friend was facing her very first night without her there, after months of caring for her elderly Mama in her own home. As Indiana slept but my friend couldn’t in her grief, the Holy Spirit compelled me in the Netherlands to send that song – showing her and me how deeply our God loves us and how PRESENT He is. Just as the song says, it is truly our Jesus who makes our faith to stand. May our God overwhelm you too today by the power of His love and the HOPE that is ours in Christ Jesus.
On a day of fresh loss and grief for my little family, only Jesus could have had someone visit this post and have me return to re-read it only hours before that fresh loss came. It was one of numerous ways the Spirit of God revealed His nearness to me- in advance of today’s loss, preparing my heart to see and receive His compassion for our whole family.
May it bless your hearts too, and help you to see and remember God’s nearness to you through your own loss and grief also. I bless you to see details in your past you hadn’t noticed before, whereby God’s nearness to you and your loved ones becomes even more palpable to you. He truly is so very present to each one of us.
Welcome to Day 1 of Part 3‘s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharinga free will offeringin praise of God opening her eyes to see by faith. By God’s grace, her eyes open to the Promise contained in the budding of her almond tree, in the midst of great pain and affliction. She also invites us to join her in a time of thanksgiving and prayer.
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.”
Luke 11:34 NIV
This branch is from my Flowering Almond bush:
It has had its share of suffering and disease. At one point, several years ago, I considered removing the whole bush because it continued to die back and shed more leaves than what it was gaining. But the patient gardener in me decided to give it another chance, and pruned away the dead branches one more time. I would have missed out on these beautiful blooms if I had focused solely on the diseased portion of the plant.
And so it is in my own life. Where are my eyes choosing to focus? Where is the light within them?
This week a friend sent me a song, and because it was a reworking of a hymn that was one of my favorites, I went on a search to find the original. In so doing, as often happens with me, the history of the hymn drew my attention just as much as the song itself. Maybe you have heard of Annie Johnson Flint, poet and hymn writer from the early 1900’s?
Before this search, I had known she lived a life of suffering, and I had known her beautiful work came from a fountain of grace within her. What I had not known was that her disease was one with which I am well acquainted:
But she suffered in the years when there was no relief for pain, and no medicine to halt the crippling effects. Where I might suffer some pain and weakness, and some residual tendon damage, she suffered the full effects of a horrible disfigurement and pain beyond compare. As the disease progressed, she was forced to type out her poems using only her bent knuckles, because her joints had swollen and twisted to a point of uselessness.
What do I know of that kind of uselessness?
How would I have borne that kind of suffering?
In these days of stillness, as the Lord brings fresh convictions to me daily, I know that my heart has so far yet to travel. For you see, Annie Johnson Flint had let the Lord bring the true Light to her eyes. When the darkness of a cruel disease could have crippled her heart, she chose to let the Light of Christ permeate her soul and body. She chose to let that Light redeem her suffering, and bring forth encouragement that would bless others who were facing darkness.
She chose Acceptance in the Pruning from her own Master Gardener and embraced HIS Light in the very place of her suffering.
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him” Philippians 1:29 NIV
He Giveth More Grace(lyrics)
—Annie Johnson Flint
“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength when the labors increase; To added affliction He addeth His mercy; To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance, When our strength has failed ere the day is half done, When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision, Our God ever yearns His resources to share; Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing; The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limit; His grace has no measure. His pow’r has no boundary known unto men; For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!”
Would you join me in pausing to meditate on the suffering that our Lord bore for us, and join me in prayer?
Dear Lord Jesus,
I thank you for the suffering that you bore for me. I rejoice in the salvation and grace that you won for me there.
And, now I ask that you would purify my eyes to see the light in my days and the Grace within my own suffering.
May I let you bring Joy from Pain and Beauty from Ashes, And may the Love you have granted sink deep into my soul, body, mind and spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (ESV) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
This post was first published four years ago at: https://bettiegsraseasons.com/2017/03/30/he-gives-us-more-grace/Sincethen, Bettie’s health has deteriorated significantly and yet the beauty and life of Christ is flourishing in and through her more and more, as she comforts others with the comfort the LORD is pouring outupon her.