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Reflections on Trials and Pain

Written April 2010
I've been going through some difficult times recently, and for a while I was quite content to wallow in my sorrows. But then God graciously brought it to my attention that during this difficult time, I was not being faithful in seeking him. Not simply in prayer and other spiritual disciplines, but in actively seeking his hand in hard times. So, after some soul-searching, I have found contentment in his faithfulness. This is not to say that my pain is gone, or that I can suddenly be instantly happy, but that I have found a peace in my soul knowing that I can trust God, and that he is working through me for my benefit, and ultimately for his glory.

My trials teach me to rely more fully on God - Not in the F.R.O.G. sense - you know, those pithy little acronyms, "Fully Rely On God." While there's nothing wrong or unbiblical about this phrase, we must be careful not to reduce our trust in God to short phrases that can often cause us to dismiss rather that…

The Lady

Two poets walking by a field,
Did spy a lady there,
One thought her stripped and barren,
The other thought her fair.

“Do see her face,” the first proclaimed,
“It's cold and hardened – pale,
“What might have held two lovely eyes,
“Is shrouded by her veil.”

“Her body's dry, her skin is peeled,
“So frail, yet thick – so dead.
“To think! To think! What soon will come,
“O'erflows my heart with dread.”

The second poet softly mused,
His gaze out o'er the sky,
Then turned he to his saddened friend,
To give him this reply:

“Are not the roots that quiet'ly grow,
“Her hidden, inner beauty?
“I see wherewithal bloss'ming here,
“Is not it blatant to thee?”

“She waits for that which soon will come,
“How eagerly she sings,
“But thou, O friend, the winter sees,
“While I dost see the spring.”

Suyin

Communist China 1994

“They wanted me to kill you, Pastor.”

Suyin grasped the bars and tried to pull herself up so she could see into the next cell. She was very young, still in her teens, but from her treatments her face was aged beyond her years. Her hands and back ached and she slumped to the ground, content to converse from the floor.

“They wanted me to shoot you, and they would free me.”

“Did they beat you much?” the pastor replied from the other cell.

“I could bear it,” she said.

“So, they did.”

“Don't let it trouble you. Have they done the same with you?”

“Yes.”

“Did they-”

“Child, I am tired, let us both rest.”

I listened to the conversation as I stood by the gates to the inner cell space. I was ordered to suppress all discourse from the cells, but I tried not to if possible. The Christians' speech intrigued me at the very least, and struck me at most. Today I expected to hear some sounds of defeat, considering the treatment I had watched them go through.

No! No! Suyin's earlie…

I Roamed Away

I roamed away down to the sea,
Where the dolphins live and the mermaids be,
Twas light and airy, twas airy and free,
But I'll ne'er go wandering again, again,
I'll ne'er go wandering again.

The waves – they beckoned, the wind – it called,
So pleaded me to join them all,
And in their midst was I enthralled,
But I'll ne'er go wandering again, again,
I'll ne'er go wandering again.

The voices carried on the gust,
“Come out, come out, and follow us!”
Felt I compelled that dare I must,
But I'll ne'er go wandering again, again,
I'll ne'er go wandering again.

Deep blue – the sea, fair blue – the sky,
Jewels and shells which feed the eye,
More precious than the love that's thine?
But I'll ne'er go wandering again, again, again,
I'll ne'er go wandering again.

I roamed away down to the sea,
But traversed I back, to come to thee,
For thou, my love, holds all of me,
And I'll ne'er go wandering again, again,
No, I'll ne'er go wandering aga…

Mary's Other Song

Recent manuscripts have discovered that Mary the mother of Jesus wrote another song that did not make it into the Bible because it was widely believed to lack divine inspiration. Yet, in all its full motherly glory, it is presented here, for your entertainment and enjoyment, in honor of the beginning of the Christmas season.


When Jesus was born, I thought, “Hooray!
“This must be my lucky day!
“And nothing can rain on my parade,
“Cuz I tell you, I got it made,
“I'm raisin' the Son of God.”

But He already knows his ABCs,
His “Three Little Bears” and His 123s,
Sometimes I wonder if He's teaching me,
And life's a little tough you see,
When you're raisin' the Son of God.

But I never need to spank Him or shout,
Cuz He never whines or fusses or pouts,
He keeps the straight and narrow route,
Yet it makes me wonder what motherin's about,
Since I'm raisin' the Son of God.

Sometimes I just yell at the others,
“Why can't you be more like your brother?”
And they just roll the…

Paradox of Liberty

Liberty! -man's great desire,
Engraved on every heart afire,
All fulfilling of the soul,
'Tis liberty that makes men whole!

Liberty! -man's deepest fear,
Where obligation's dread comes near,
Merit's debt commands its due,
For liberty demands virtue.

Disdain Me Not

Disdain me not!
Tho wandering sinner I,
In my dire state,
Do not abhor my cry!

I, a prodigal,
Oppressed within, without,
In cruel despair,
Desire to quench my drought.

For with those,
Who holy precepts keep,
I am not counted,
But for the tears I weep.

Can I offer
A spirit clean and whole?
Nay, but Thou dost love,
The broken sinner's soul.