What if I could push it, shove it, thrust it aside?
Better yet, what if I could totally eradicate it?
And the very best, what if it had never been in the first place?
So, I’m thinking about these things, and I come upon these words last night on page 88:
“Can it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish that will of God? That which seems evil only seems so because of perspective, the way the eyes see the shadows. Above the clouds, light never stops shining." Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
So, I’m through for the evening’s reading. Those three sentences are enough to hold me for hours. So the hard thing I’m thinking about—could these words possibly pertain to it?
So I pray: This that seems so contrary to your purpose, can it be that you will use it to fulfill your purpose?
George Matheson wrote one of my top ten favorite hymns, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go (I have been accused of having more than ten in my top ten, however).
O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee:
I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow thru the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.
And I come upon these words from Matheson this morning: “My, God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorn. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross; but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory. Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain.”
I recently heard Bob Beckwith, the director of the wildly successful University of Georgia Wesley Foundation, comment on what it means to “take up your cross.” He said a cross is something from which we can choose to walk away. It’s not like sickness which is a suffering from which we cannot just decide to leave behind. He suggested that “taking up your cross,” means to stay with the ailing marriage, keep loving the wandering drug addicted child, keep hoping in the hopeless, hard circumstance.
“…take up his cross daily and follow me...” (Luke 9:23)
So, I’m praying this morning to stay with it. To give thanks that God is going to use a dark circumstance in my life for his glory.
And to…can I actually do this…give thanks for the thing itself.