Friday, November 11, 2011

A word in season

Is it just me or does it sometimes feel like each day is a different season? Some days, joy blows in like a longed-for sea breeze, salty and lithe, caressing the earth. Other times I'm faced with a squall of despair, wind and rain pounding incessantly on a fragile roof, branches struck down and whimpering in their wake.

Whatever the season, God always sends me a word, through his word. Today it was Isaiah 35:1 - 10. Specifically I was thinking about verses 3 and 4:

 Strengthen the feeble hands,
    steady the knees that give way; 
say to those with fearful hearts, 
   “Be strong, do not fear; 
your God will come...

Much of my energy goes into this task, of taking quivering hearts, and turning them towards the Lord, reminding them of his strong arm. I need to remember this is a task that God himself ordains, in order that we would stand firm.

Perhaps if you too are in this position, of watching knees and hands, and speaking into fear, you might take heart from reading this, the beginning of a sermon by Charles Spurgeon on these exact verses.

TIS THE DUTY of all men to be careful of the sons of sorrow. There be some who from their very birth are marked by melancholy as her own. The silent shades of sorrow are their congenial haunts; the glades of the forest of grief are the only places where their leaf can flourish. 
Others there are who through some crushing misfortune are brought so low that they never hold up their heads again, but go from that time forth mourning to their graves. Some there be, again, who disappointed in their early youth, either in some fond object of their affections, or else in some project of their young ambition, never can dare to face the world, but shrink from contact with their fellows, even as the sensitive plant curls up its tendrils at the touch. 
In all flocks there must be lambs, and weak and wounded sheep; and among the flock of men, it seems that there must necessarily be some who should more than others prove the truth of Job's declaration, "man is born to trouble even as the sparks fly upwards."
It is the duty then of those of us who are more free than others from despondency of spirit, to be very tender to these weak ones. Far be it from the man of courageous disposition, of stern resolve, and of unbending purpose, to be hard towards those who are timid and despairing. 
If we have a lion-like spirit, let us not imitate the king of beasts in his cruelty to those timid fallow deer that fly before him, but let us place out strength at their service for their help and protection. Let us with downy fingers bind up the wounded heart; with oil and wine let us nourish their fainting spirits. In this battle of life, let the unwounded warriors bear their injured comrades to the rear, bathe their wounds, and cover them from the storm of war. Be gentle with those that are desponding. Alas, it is not every man that has learned this lesson. 


Kath said...

That quote is wonderful. Thanks.
And your words sound tenderly chosen, too.May you continue to find encouragement in the storms.

sophg said...

Thanks Kath, you too.