Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A poem for when His face is hidden....

When I felt secure, I said,
    “I will never be shaken.” 
Lord, when you favored me,
    you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face, 
    I was dismayed.

Psalm 30:6-7

With Your face turned towards me,
I know peace deep inside;
My steps, though uncertain,
Gladly follow my Guide.
As Your face shines upon me,
Your grace falls like rain,
The path broadens beneath me,
My ankles do not give way.

With Your face turned towards me,
I felt so secure,
Whatever the trial,
I’d faithfully endure.
As Your face shone upon me
Unlit paths became bright,
Hope burned in the darkness
As faith gave me sight.


O Lord, I’m dismayed!
Your face I can’t see!
The grief in my heart -
It overwhelms me!
I want nothing on earth
Besides You alone!
I’m feeble and crushed;
In anguish I groan.

Darkness now threatens
Giants loom overhead
Fear rises within me
Can’t shake off this dread.
I yearn for those days
When Your face I could see;
To You, Lord, I call,
I cry for mercy.


Your face may now be hid,
But my cry will reach Your ears,
I know You won’t leave me,
I’ve no reason to fear.
My thirst will be satisfied,
Hope will be reborn,
I’ll wait on You, my Lord -
A watchman waiting for dawn.

I remember saying to a friend not many weeks ago that I didn't think I would ever be uprooted in my walk with God again, as I felt so close to the Lord...if there is one lesson I have learned from this experience of the Lord hiding His face, it is this: It is He alone who sustains us. If I stand firm through the battles, it is by His grace alone. I can see in verse 6 of Psalm 30 that David likewise seemed to be trusting his ability to stand firm - "When I felt secure I said I will never be shaken". The experience of the Lord hiding His face quickly brought him closer to the truth - that it was the Lord alone who sustains Him in those times of safety - "You made my mountain stand firm, but when You hid Your face, I was dismayed." The reality is that "Apart from Me, you can do nothing". The reality is, as Paul Washer says, apart from Him, we can't even breathe. The mercy is that He does draw near, that He delights to shower His blessings upon us, that in Christ He never leaves us, never forsakes us, because His sacrifice alone has paid it all. He may hide His face, but only for a moment, and for only one bring us closer still.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Peaks and troughs

Less than 2 weeks ago, I was standing on top of Helvellyn mountain in the Lake District, experiencing such a closeness with the Lord and the wonder of His creation. The words of Isaiah 40 sprang to life in my heart, as the sheer grandness of the Lord spoke to my heart, together with His nearness, the fact that such an awesome Creator would stoop to deposit in my heart His Holy Spirit, through the blood of His Son. I had no words to express my joy.

This week, I have found myself at the bottom of a pit, berating myself for failing to keep my footing secure on the Rock, allowing myself to be cast asunder. I have had no words to express my emptiness. 

Today I found this hymn by John Newton, tucked away inside the Olney Hymns which he wrote with his friend, William Cowper. His words speak for me. 

Return to bless my waiting eyes,
And cheer my mourning heart, O LORD!
Without thee, all beneath the skies
No real pleasure can afford.

When thy loved presence meets my sight,
It softens care, and sweetens toil;
The sun shines forth with double light,
The whole creation wears a smile.

Upon thine arm of love I rest,
Thy gracious voice forbids my fear;
No storms disturb my peaceful breast,
No foes assault when thou art near.

But ah! since thou hast been away,
Nothing but trouble have I known;
And Satan marks me for his prey
Because he sees me left alone.

My sun is hid, my comforts lost,
My graces droop, my sins revive;
Distressed, dismayed, and tempest–tossed,
My soul is only just alive!

LORD, hear my cry and come again!
Put all mine enemies to shame,
And let them see, ’tis not in vain
That I have trusted in thy name.

Feelings come and go. The word of the Lord endures forever. He is my Rock. He is my stronghold. He never changes. 

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4