Something crummy happened yesterday. Today something else crummy happened that is related to what happened yesterday. This morning before I got out of bed – before the second crummy thing happened – I read this in “Night of Weeping, Morning of Joy” by Horatius Bonar:
(Speaking of the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the church) “The deliverance of creation is at hand. The time of “the manifestation of the sons of God” is come. Now, arrayed in light, themselves the sons of light, they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and as the stars for ever and ever. Now, transformed into the image of the Morning star – themselves stars of morning, they prepare to sing together over the new creation, when its foundations shall be fastened and its cornerstone laid by Him who is to make all things new. Death is now swallowed up of victory; the grave is rifled; the spoiler is spoiled; ashes are exchanged for beauty; the light that was quenched is rekindled; the sorrow passes into joy; and darkness of a brief night ends in the uprising of endless day.”
Well, that helps me with perspective! Then the second crummy thing happened and I was mad enough to spit nails. As I considered my options and sent an email to some friends asking them to pray that I will handle this as I should – and maybe not the way I might at first feel like doing! – I decided I really needed to be at church so I could go worship God and let Him adjust my attitude. This earthly Sabbath is a little tiny taste of a taste of the eternal rest that comes on that endless day. So, time for a bit of God’s earnest – His down payment on what is coming.
Our sermon today was on God’s Providence. This crummy thing was not without meaning or purpose. And we can expect God to care for us during difficult and frustrating circumstances. A quote on the front of our bulletin was also encouraging. Here’s part of it – by John Flavel:
“A great part of the pleasure and delight of the Christian life is gained through meditating on God’s providence. How pleasant it is to our souls to think upon and behold God’s mighty acts. In doing this, we also support and strengthen our faith for future trials. In properly meditating upon God’s providence, our souls are more and more endeared to Jesus Christ, for Christ is the channel of all grace and mercy. All the streams of mercy that flow from God to us, flow through Him. The purchase of all those mercies which providence conveys to us is by the blood of Jesus. As sin forfeited all blessing, so Christ restored all these mercies again to us by His death. Whatever good comes to us from the hand of Providence, comes to us through Christ’s blood. Now this is a most endearing consideration. Did Christ die that these mercies may flow to me? Did He pay His life’s blood to purchase these comforts that I possess? O what transcendent, matchless love is the love of Christ! These sweet mercies that are born of Providence every day are the fruits of the travail of His soul. All our mercies, including our daily bread, as well as our justification and other spiritual blessings, are secured to us through the covenant of grace, ratified in the blood of Christ. Whatever blessings we reap from this covenant, we must thank the Lord Jesus Christ for them. Put all this together, and then think how such contemplation will endear Christ to your souls.”
After reading this, here is what we sang:
“God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper, 1774
1. God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
2. Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill He treasures up His bright designs, and works His sovereign will.
3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.
4. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
5. His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
6. Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.
I think my friends’ prayers were answered, as were mine. Yeah, what happened isn’t right and I have to speak up. But it feels different now. Where before it was like being stung by a wasp, now it’s like the stinger but with no poison. That seems like an inadequate explanation, but I don’t know how else to describe it. And this is just a tiny taste of a taste of the eternal rest that comes on that endless day.