Thursday, December 8, 2011

End of year trials?


“I flee unto thee to hide me” (Ps. 143:9)
Suppose that twenty troubles should come to us in a day, and that we should flee unto God twenty times with them, I think that was might almost pray to God to send twenty troubles more, so that we might flee unto him forty times a day. Any reason for going to God must be a blessing to us, for going to God is going to bliss; so we may even turn our troubles into blessings by making them drive us unto him. 
Have you been worrying yourself, since you have been here [in the service], about a trial that you expect to fall upon you towards the close of this year! You fear that Christmas is not likely to be “a merry Christmas” to you; there are many bills coming in, and not much hope of the money with which to meet them; well, then, flee unto God with that trouble; and whatever is burdening your heart or your mind, flee unto God about it, and leave it all in his hands, and go on your way rejoicing.
~ Charles Spurgeon, from the sermon, "Hiding in Thee!" (preached on April 6, 1905, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington)

This was such an encouraging word to hear and not just for end-of-the-year trials. We should never pray for trials or suffering, but we should be thankful when they come. Why? As Spurgeon so wonderfully tells us, they give us a reason to go to God especially when we might not otherwise. Have you ever thought of it that way before? I did as I lay in bed this morning between my two youngest sons (who found their way into our bed sometime last night). The one on the right (7) is in remission from leukemia, but still receives chemo and other treatments as part of a two year maintenance to finally rid him of cancer altogether. His bald head and lack of eyebrows in his angelic face are constant reminders. The one on my left, nestled in my arms as only a 5 year old can nestle, has epilepsy and was recently diagnosed as mentally retarded (the official diagnosis is "epilepsy with mild retardation"). These trials can weigh on me at times, particularly Cullen's since, unlike cancer, there is no cure for MR. I wonder what he will be like when he is older? Will he have to live with us? How will he function in society? Will he ever understand the Gospel (that is one that sends me running to the throne of grace frequently)? And my own trials. My weaknesses and fears. How I needed to go to God! As I lay there, it was so wonderful to pour out all of my heart to my heavenly Father, flee to Him and hide myself in Him. I found that my trials began to fade into the background and my focus was all on Him and I was worshiping Him and praising His name. What a blessing!

I am thankful for these trials. They are doing a work in the hearts of my children and in the hearts of their parents and they give me many reasons and opportunities to flee to the Lord. Do you wonder why He sends trials? Isn't it obvious? The One who sends them is the One we flee to. There we know that all is safe, all is well. How do we know this? Christ's blood has secured us safely in the Father's love. Nothing, ultimately, can touch us there.

4 comments:

  1. Jeff,
    I'm praying for you as you come to mind. That God gives grace to you and your family. Persevere brother...

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  2. Jeff, could you tell me what exactly does "fleeing" mean to you? I mean, can't literally run to Christ...?? I've been a Christian for 3 years now and dealt with death and many other losses in the past year and my Christian friends keep telling me to "cling to Christ," "flee to Christ," "drown in Christ," etc, but I don't really know how all these Christian metaphors (are they really just prosaic platitudes?) would actually look like in daily life... thoughts?

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  3. Great question, Charissa. No, we do not literally flee to Christ. It's just another way of conveying the idea of turning quickly to Him in prayer by faith in our hour of need. (this is what fleeing to Christ looks like: http://extra-nos.blogspot.com/2011/12/desperation.html) I demonstrate that in my blog entry. Fears and questionings come. What am I to do? Give in to them? That's no good! Ah, but I know Someone who can help me. He is all powerful and mighty and He is my Lord and King. He loves to help His children and when they run to Him He reminds them of the very great and precious promises in which He has blessed them. I go to Christ! Quickly (I run!- Haven't you used an expression like, "Whenever I am sad I run to my favorite song" - do you literally run to your song? Probably not, but you want to let us know how badly you want to get there, right? See the point?) So, when your losses are mounting and despair enters in and doubts and fears you flee to Christ in faith believing all that He has done for you and will do for you and there you will find comfort even in the midst of trials. A good verse to know is Romans 8:32. In fact, as a relatively new Christian I would encourage you to just camp out in Romans 8 for awhile. It is probably (along with the Psalms) one of the most encouraging chapters of the Bible for those who are growing in assurance of what Christ has done for them. I hope this answers your question.

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  4. Thanks Jeff, I so appreciate you taking the time to get back to me on this one, even if I've taken eons to get back to you! It sounds like you were basically answering the question of "what does fleeing to Christ look like, practically speaking?" with "prayer." Thank you so much for a thoughtful answer. I will meditate on it. And also Romans 8. I really appreciate it.
    Charissa

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