Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pressed on Every Side

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:810 NLT

These verses pretty much sum up how I feel these days. Pressed on every side; perplexed, not sure which direction I’m to go, what project to focus on; hunted down by the enemy, even when I think I’m flying under the radar; knocked down, dreams and plans changed or broken.

But in it all I sense God’s peace and love. I see His grace in that I’m not crushed or broken. Hope is ever present, so I don’t give up or quit, though I’m tempted to. God’s faithfulness and mercies are new every morning when He shows me each day that He’s not abandoned me yet. And when I fall, He’s there to pick me up, to carry me until I learn to stand on Him and His promises.

Suffering seems to be the theme of many of friends’ lives these days. And mine. Yet in this passage Paul reminds us that it is through suffering that we share in Christ’s death and resurrection so that His life may be reflected in us. Good comes from pain; purity comes from the fire. God allows the enemy to sift us, to bring suffering to us to separate the good from the bad, and He prays for us as we go through the sifting, as He did for Peter, that when we have gone through the testing we will be able to encourage others and lift them up.

Today in my hymn history devotional, I read about the author of the words of “Day by Day.” Lina was the daughter of Jonas Sandell, pastor of the Lutheran church in Fröderyd, Sweden. At age 26, she accompanied her father on a boat trip across Lake Vättern to Göteborg, during which he fell overboard and drowned before her eyes. The tragedy profoundly affected Lina and she wrote this hymn shortly after this tragedy. Known as the Fanny Crosby of Sweden, she wrote 650 hymns. She married Stockholm merchant C. O. Berg in 1867, but continued to initial her hymns “L. S.”

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He Whose Name is Counselor and Power;
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
Ever to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

God is very good!

Daily Bible reading: Wednesday, February 27—Exodus 25–26; 2 Thessalonians 3

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