“WHAT God may hereafter require of you, you must not give yourself the least trouble about. Everything He gives you to do, you must do as well as ever you can, and that is the best possible preparation for what He may want you to do next. If people would but do what they have to do, they would always find themselves ready for what came next.”—GEORGE MACDONALD
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”—Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (via danseurs)
When I was a kid we rushed home every afternoon from school, burst into the house to make sure Mother was there where we wanted her to be (she was), and then collected the kids on the block to play Kick the Can or to build playhouses out of wooden greenhouse boxes. Equipment didn’t cost us a cent. Adults didn’t have to supervise us or drive us anywhere or coach us. We just played. We were kids, and we knew that after-school time was playtime—until it was time to work (practice the piano, set the table, clear the table, do homework!).
Something has changed. Educators have gotten terribly serious about play and terribly casual about real physical work. Billions of dollars are lavished on developing crafts which nobody really needs and forms of recreation which people have to be taught to like. We’ve got “toys to grow on,” computer games, play groups, playgrounds. Tiny tots who would have been happy with a few Tupperware containers and some spoons are given fancy mechanical toys that do things, and taught that if they make huge messes with finger paints they’re being creative, which they didn’t know they wanted to be.
All God’s gifts are prepared gifts laid up in store for wants foreseen. He anticipates our needs; and out of the fulness which He has treasured up in Christ Jesus, He provides of His goodness for the poor. You may trust Him for all the necessities that can occur, for He has infallibly foreknown every one of them. He can say of us in all conditions, “I knew that thou wouldst be this and that.” A man goes a journey across the desert, and when he has made a day’s advance, and pitched his tent, he discovers that he wants many comforts and necessaries which he has not brought in his baggage. “Ah!” says he, “I did not foresee this: if I had this journey to go again, I should bring these things with me, so necessary to my comfort.” But God has marked with prescient eye all the requirements of His poor wandering children, and when those needs occur, supplies are ready. It is goodness which He has prepared for the poor in heart, goodness and goodness only. “My grace is sufficient for thee.” “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
Reader, is your heart heavy this evening? God knew it would be; the comfort which your heart wants is treasured in the sweet assurance of the text. You are poor and needy, but He has thought upon you, and has the exact blessing which you require in store for you. Plead the promise, believe it and obtain its fulfillment. Do you feel that you never were so consciously vile as you are now? Behold, the crimson fountain is open still, with all its former efficacy, to wash your sin away. Never shall you come into such a position that Christ cannot aid you. No pinch shall ever arrive in your spiritual affairs in which Jesus Christ shall not be equal to the emergency, for your history has all been foreknown and provided for in Jesus.
In God, Not Out of Trouble by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
"And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest" Jeremiah 45:5.
A promise given for hard places, and a promise of safety and life in the midst of tremendous pressure, a life “for a prey.” It may well adjust itself to our own times, which are growing harder as we near the end of the age, and the Tribulation times.
What is the meaning of “a life for a prey”? It means a life snatched out of the jaws of the destroyer, as David snatched the lamb from the lion. It means not removal from the noise of the battle and the presence of our foes; but it means a table in the midst of our enemies, a shelter from the storm, a fortress amid the foe, a life preserved in the face of continual pressure: Paul’s healing when pressed out of measure so that he despaired of life; Paul’s Divine help when the thorn remained, but the power of Christ rested upon him and the grace of Christ was sufficient. Lord, give me my life for a prey, and in the hardest places help me today to be victorious. —Days of Heaven upon Earth
We often pray to be delivered from calamities; we even trust that we shall be; but we do not pray to be made what we should be, in the very presence of the calamities; to live amid them, as long as they last, in the consciousness that we are, held and sheltered by the Lord, and can therefore remain in the midst of them, so long as they continue, without any hurt. For forty days and nights, the Saviour was kept in the presence of Satan in the wilderness, and that, under circumstances of special trial, His human nature being weakened by want of food and rest.
The furnace was heated seven times more than it was wont to be heated, but the three Hebrew children were kept a season amid its flames as calm and composed in the presence of the tyrant’s last appliances of torture, as they were in the presence of himself before their time of deliverance came.
And the livelong night did Daniel sit amongthe lions, and when he was taken up out of the den, “no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.” They dwelt in the presence of the enemy, because they dwelt in the presence of God.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
Baron Von Hugel said, “The chain of cause and effect which makes up human life, is bisected at every point by a vertical line relating us and all we do to God.”
This is what He has given us to do, this task here on this earth, not the task we aspired to do, but this one.
The absurdities involved cut us down to size. The great discrepancy between what we envisioned and what we’ve got force us to be real. And God is our great Reality, more real than the realest of earthly conditions, an unchanging Reality. It is His providence that has put us where we are. It’s where we belong. It is for us to receive it—all of it—humbly, quietly, thankfully.
Everything, to one who loves God and longs with a sometimes desperate longing for a draught of Living Water, a single touch of His hand, a quiet word—everything, I say, can be seen in His perspective.
Does He watch? Yes, “Thou God seest me” (Genesis 16:3, KJV). Is His love surrounding us? “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3, KJV). “I will never leave thee or forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5, KJV). May I offer to Him my feeling of the dislocation between reality and my ideals, that great chasm which separates the person I long to be, the work I long to do for Him, the family I struggle to perfect for His glory—from the actuality? I may indeed, for it is God Himself who stirs my heart to desire, and He can easily see across the chasm. He enfolds all of it, He is at work in me and in those I pray for, “to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, KJV). I may take heart, send up an instant look of gratitude, and—well, get that beloved flock into the van and head down the freeway singing!