“In an age in which infidelity abounds, do we observe [parents] carefully instructing their children in the principles of faith which they profess? Or do they furnish their children with arguments for the defense of that faith? … When religion is handed down among us by heredity succession, it is not surprising to find youth of sense and spirit beginning to question the truth of the system in which they were brought up. And it is not surprising to see them abandon a position which they are unable to defend.”
William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace
“Giants Fall” lyrics
To let go of what you’re holding to
It’s too late, too far
You’re too small, it’s too hard
Throwing water on that spark
Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons
The things you’re not seeing
But oh, maybe they don’t
Know what you know
That you’re not alone
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be small
But watch the giants fall
Can’t you imagine it
So bold, so brave
With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face
Reading through all the [Bible’s] miracle stories together, I see that faith comes in different degrees. A few people demonstrated bold, unshakable faith, such as a centurion who told Jesus he need not bother with a visit – just a word would heal his servant long-distance. “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith,” Jesus remarked, astonished. … foreigners, the least likely people to demonstrate strong faith, impressed Jesus. …
In glaring contrast, the people who should have known better lagged in faith. Jesus’ own neighbors doubted him. John the Baptist, his cousin and forerunner, later questioned him. Among the twelve disciples, Thomas doubted, Peter cursed, and Judas betrayed, all after spending three years with Jesus.
… Faith appears where least expected and falters where it should be thriving. What gives me hope, though, is that Jesus worked with whatever grain of faith a person might muster. He did, after all, honor the faith of everyone who asked, from the bold centurion to doubting Thomas to the distraught father who cried, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God
On our summer trip, I continued working on a cross-stitch I haven’t touched for over a year. It was on my dresser this morning and the one word I have stitched in there, only part of the whole statement, spoke louder to me than a sentence or paragraph might.
These past two weeks, it seems, some act of terror, some tragedy, is committed every day. Single killings. Mass killings. Protests that turn to horror. Events that turn to tragedy.
God help us.
I know He does. I know He did, when He sent His son, the Prince of Peace, to die for a broken land. I know He will, when He returns to bring a Kingdom of Peace.
But today, the thought seems a faint shadow of hope in the midst of today’s world, plunged in violence.
Last night, while I worked on the cross-stitch for a few minutes, my son Aiden was watching me. He asked why the picture looked bad from the back. He asked if he should get scissors to cut off the mess because it wasn’t pretty like the front.
I told him that if he cut the threads from the back, it would ruin the picture I’m stitching into the front.
And I thought of this world. And God’s plan. And grace. And how so little seems to make sense so much of the time.
I told my son life is like that sometimes, with God creating a picture, something beautiful, but all we see so often is the tangled mess in the back.
This morning, when that single word seemed to shine, I realized sometimes we see a hint of the front too. A glimpse of the true picture. But unfinished. Vague. Like through a glass darkly. And all we feel is a longing of some sort. Like a longing for peace. For love to prevail. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.
Perhaps the longing itself is a sort of prayer for the Prince of Peace. A sort of cry that says, Even so come, Lord Jesus.
The Lord gives grace and glory … O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in Thee! (Psalm 84:11-12)
He exults in the blessedness of the person who trust in the God of all grace. We need to let it sink in that grace is not only gotten by faith, but glorified by faith. This doubles our blessing in being people who trust in God. On the one hand, we long for the blessings of God’s future grace, and they come to us by faith. But on the other hand, we long for God’s grace to be glorified in our lives, and this too comes by faith. Faith receives the goodness of future grace, and faith reflect the glory of future grace. It is a double wonder. These two things are not at odds — our receiving the joy and God getting the glory. O, how this should set our hearts on a passionate quest to trust God hour by hour for all the need — for God’s sake! Every moment of faith is a tribute to his grace.
By John Piper, in Future Grace
“We don’t understand a lot of things. But we learn that people are very disappointing, and that they break our hearts, and that very sweet people will be bullied, and that we will be called to survive unsurvivable losses, and that we will realize with enormous pain how much of our lives we’ve already wasted with obsessive work or pleasing people or dieting. … Side by side with all that, we will witness transformation, people finding out who they were born to be…” – Anne Lamott
We often don’t really know why things turn out the way they do.
Sometimes a heart is left aching and although we know that “He does all things well”, at times all we have to hold on to is a glimmer of hope. And the thread that connects that hope to our hearts is thinner than a strand.
Yet the glimmer can grow into a silver lining of promise, and eventually the sun bursts forth, although veiled by shadow only a short time before.
This is hope. We cannot always choose when or how this process will work in our lives and hearts.
Yet when the One Who holds our lives and destinies is given leeway to hold our hearts, our dreams, our hopes, then we have nothing to fear. For His grasp of a situation is not a perception, but true reality. A reality that He can dispense to our fragile hearts, bestowing joy in spite of sorrow, beauty from ashes, and victory after it seems all hope is lost.
Hold on to that glimmer.
Hold on for that promise.
It is yours, even if you have to wrestle the angel before receiving the promise. Do not let go of the angel, even if he bears sorrow or tears. Hold on and he will bear you up and take you to a place of beauty, promise and hope—your future.