“Make thy petition deep” (Isa_7:11, margin).
Make thy petition deep, O heart of mine,
Thy God can do much more
Than thou canst ask;
Launch out on the Divine,
Draw from His love-filled store.
Trust Him with everything;
And find the joy that comes
When Jesus has His way!
“All that night” the Lord was working,
Working in the tempest blast,
Working with the swelling current,
Flooding, flowing, free and fast.
“All that night” God’s children waited–
Hearts, perhaps in agony
With the enemy behind them,
And, in front, the cruel sea.
“All that night” seemed blacker darkness
Than they ever saw before,
Though the light of God’s own presence
Near them was, and sheltered o”er.
“All that night” that weary vigil
Passed; the day at last did break,
And they saw that God was working
“All that night” a path to make.
“All that night,” O child of sorrow,
Canst thou not thy heartbreak stay?
Know thy God in darkest midnight
Works, as well as in the day.
– From the Streams in the Desert
“The Lord caused the sea to go back…all that night” (Exodus 14:21).
In this verse there is a comforting message showing how God works in the dark. The real work of God for the children of Israel, was not when they awakened and found that they could get over the Red Sea; but it was “all that night.”
So there may be a great working in your life when it all seems dark and you cannot see or trace, but yet God is working. Just as truly did He work “all that night,” as all the next day. The next day simply manifested what God had done during the night. Is there anyone reading these lines who may have gotten to a place where it seems dark? You believe to see, but you are not seeing. In your life-progress there is not constant victory; the daily, undisturbed communion is not there, and all seems dark.
“The Lord caused the sea to go back…all that night.” Do not forget that it was “all that night.” God works all the night, until the light comes. You may not see it, but all that “night” in your life, as you believe God, He works.
– From “Streams in the Desert”
For whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. – Proverbs 3:12 (AMP)
The love of our Heavenly Father is often compared to the love of a father. A good and loving father will provide everything that is needed for his children, including discipline and correction.
1. If the father delights in his child, then when he has to discipline such a child, he will not be filled with sadistic joy; rather his paternal heart would bleed. Likewise, when we are the delight of our Father in heaven, there will be times when the Sovereign Lord has to discipline us. During the chastisement, it may look or feel like the Lord takes pleasure in our suffering. But remember that His Fatherly heart feels our pain and suffering. The Man of Sorrows, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who suffered so much for us, understands our weaknesses. The Spirit of God intercedes for us with groans that cannot be explained. During your affliction, remember these.
2. God chooses the method of discipline, knowing that is the best way to go for you under the circumstances. We cannot and should not compare the way He disciplines us with the ways He corrects others. Even for us, our Redeemer may have used some other form of correction and now is disciplining us differently; because He knows what is best. We should not expect the Lord to discipline us in ways we think are the best.
For example, in the Gospels, we see Jesus Christ often rebuking Peter. But when Peter did the worst of his sin, when he denied not knowing the Lord three times, Luke records it beautifully:
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. (Luke 22:61, AMP)
3. When a father corrects the son in whom he delights, he will do it with tenderness. The correction may be severe and at times, harsh, but it will not be cruel. Likewise when the Lord our God disciplines us, remember that the LORD God is gracious, loving and compassionate; that He is dealing with us with tenderness.
4. God always corrects us for our good. The good of our life is the ultimate object of His corrections. At times, we may not understand why we need to undergo such afflictions, how is the Lord glorified in these sufferings. Let us not try to understand. Instead let us trust our Father, Who gave even His only Son for us.
And also the Strength of Israel will not lie or repent; for He is not a man, that He should repent. – 1 Sam. 15:29 (Amplified Bible)
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was watching an eye “specialist” giving a prescription for 15 tablets, 5 eye drops and an injection for a student with headache. Then another “specialist” dropped by to see if they could go to the canteen for a break.
She was shocked at the least and pulled the first specialist and told her to cancel the entire prescription and suggested to write one tablet and one eye drop and nothing more. The first specialist protested saying that those are nothing but generic medications, but the patient needed more treatment than that.
The second specialist’s answer jolted me. She said, “That’s not our problem. If something happens to her eye sight, you will be in trouble. Just give these. Then she will come again and may be someone else will take the risk. Let us play it safe, okay?” Then the first specialist returned and crossed out the entire prescription, and wrote just one eye drop and one tablet, both generic.
Let us play it safe. That has become the lifeline for many. Let us play it safe. And everything in life revolves around that concept: play it safe. Why risk anything?
But not our Lord. HE does not play it safe. HE takes risks, risks that are not worth taking in our eyes.
I knew a believer who is chosen by our Lord to be used a broken vessel for the glory of God. Now, this believer was one of the most adamant persons I have met. It is so difficult to prove a point with him. And there would be no trace of love of Christ when he would admonish others.
So, I was surprised when God chose him to be a vessel to show His love unto the world. He was the least qualified candidate in our church. Yet God chose him. Now we can all the see the changes in him. God does not play it safe.
Dear friend, there will be times you are left wondering why God picked you of all the people… in our eyes, we have nothing. And it is true, that we are nothing. But God chose you, and once you have dedicated your life to Him, He will not let you go as you are. Our Lord Almighty will fulfil His purpose for you. And during those times of intense suffering and weaknesses, He shall be the Strength of Israel unto you. Amen.
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.
– Jeremiah 6:14 (NIV)
As part of my treatment in the ICU, I was asked to undergo an eye test to see if my vision is okay. After doing the routine tests, I was asked to wait for one of the “specialists” to be available. So I sat near one of the specialists as she was prescribing medications for a teenage student.
The student had eye trouble from an young age, and she was already wearing thick glasses. Her complaint was that she has severe headache whenever she is trying to concentrate on her studies. So, they took few tests and now the “specialist” was telling her what to do.
The “specialist” looked at the test results and prescribed that teenage girl 5 different eye drops daily, 15 tablets to be taken and one injection per week. That was a total of 21 medications, 20 of them are to be taken daily. Especially 5 different eye drops!!!
I was sitting there bewildered. Yes, I am not an “eye specialist”, but I knew that was wrong. It was then I realized that she was an intern, still studying and she is giving each medication based on the various test results, ending in such a massive list. She was treating the symptoms, but not the underlying cause.
There are times when we are allowed to suffer in this world. We look at the symptoms and search for a cure. “Oh, there is this secret sin in your life and hence you are suffering. Oh, you have a family curse and that is why this is happening. So and so has done witchcraft against you…” The endless list goes on and on.
But when our LORD takes over, the Great Physician does not treat symptoms, He treats the underlying cause. During that treatment period, there will be a question of why is He treating you so hard. During that time, you may become isolated from others. Sometimes the suffering may look like for eternity.
In all that, dear friend, remember that it is coming from your loving Father in heaven, Who gave His only Son Jesus Christ to be crucified just for you. So, if the loving Father has decided to treat you, remember that He will make sure to remove every dross from us and make us into fine gold.
Sometimes the LORD may have a greater purpose for you, greater than you can imagine and is getting you ready for that purpose. And you need to pass through the furnace. But the loving Father is still in control.
Probably you know all these, but in your weakness, you want to quit. You have no one to understand your pain, your suffering. No, dear friend, you have Jesus. The Son of God Who became the Man of Sorrows, and suffered a cruel death. The Redeemer Who came to give His life for you, yet at the moment of weakness, “Father, if possible, let this cup pass from Me.” Jesus understands your pain, your weaknesses and how you are seeking the end to all these suffering. At this moment, He is offering up prayers for your sake.
The Spirit of God is praying for with groans that cannot be explained in human terms. So, don’t lose heart. Soon you will be healed and take hold of your promises. God bless you.
And no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. – Rev. 14:3 (NKJV)
Even in Heaven, there will be a song that can only be sung by us, poor human beings. The angelic beings cannot even learn that song, but only us, those who are redeemed from the earth.
To learn it, we must pass through the valley of death. To learn it, we must be alone with our Saviour Jesus Christ, in the darkest hours of our life.
Yes, it will be a song of triumph, but we have to learn it in the worst of conditions. In a valley filled with dried bones. In a wilderness waiting to swallow us. In sickness. In the loneliest of the situations. But only you can sing it. Only those who carried their crosses and followed the “Man of Sorrows”, our Redeemer, will learn and sing that song. Yes, only you can sing it.
So, my dear friend, are you feeling lonely? Are you feeling as if you are forsaken and forgotten by our LORD? No, no, you are learning a music lesson from our Father in heaven. You are part of the Divine Choir, the Heavenly Symphony and right now, you are being trained to sing your part and only you can sing it.
There may be heights in the symphony that you cannot reach; probably only angels can reach. But there are depths in the symphony that the angels cannot understand. And only you can understand those depths and only you can reach those depths, because you are walking in one right now.
In this valley, your Shepherd is next to you, because you can hear His voice singing that song for you. When you start singing in the quick sands of the valley, you can feel His strong arm pulling you. Yes, take heart, our good Shepherd Jesus Himself is teaching you this song. With His beautiful voice, He is comforting you. This song becomes a part of you; it may even become your life. So, only you can sing it.
As dark clouds surround you, remember the Father is preparing the song for you. As the walk in the valley threatens you, remember that Jesus is training you. When darkness engulfs you from every side, remember to follow the soft voice of the Holy Spirit. And when you are singing that song in Heaven, you will realize how glorious is this walk in the valley of death.
On May 17th midnight, I was rushed to the emergency ward yet again and was admitted in the ICU for nearly four days. As I was in the bed, due to the mercies of the LORD, I had a chance to observe the ICU where I spent a week in 2016.
Throughout my stay this time, the nurses were efficient and they did their duty. No complaints there. But something was very off from the first time I stayed there. Initially I could not find anything wrong, but even my wife who is taking care of me, and the few visitors who came to see me, pointed out that the atmosphere at the ICU was different. Then I realized that.
You could see the sense of duty this time around; but in 2016, it was a service; not duty to be performed. For example, the night shift ends at 8 AM. So the nurses have to clean us up, give us the injections to be given, take blood samples for daily analysis and then make sure we have our breakfast before they leave.
In 2016, the nurses would finish all their writing summary and various official things in the night and would start the cleaning up process by 5 AM. By 7:45 AM, they would finish everything and get ready to leave by 8 AM.
This time around, getting ready to leave was the priority. So, we were woken up at 3:30 AM for cleaning, 4 AM for brushing our teeth and the blood samples were taken at 4:30 AM. It did not matter how tired we were. We would start sleeping and then one nurse would come to wake us up for one thing or another. Then by 5 AM, they would sit and start writing their summary. During that time, you ask for anything, you are just wasting your time. One day, I was thirsty and asked for water, and I got it after 45 minutes. Because they have to finish their jobs, you see.
Also in 2016, I was in a worse condition than I was this time. Yet the nurses would comfort me saying that I would be okay, that they would take care of me, and whatever they did, they did with a reassuring smile. This time, there is no assurance of anything, no smile nothing. If there is a question, ask the doctor why are you asking me – was the kind of attitude.
In 2016, the night shift nurses would not even talk aloud, because most of the patients would be sleeping. But this time, it did not matter what the time was… they shouted at each other, their friends would drop in suddenly for a chit chat and they would laugh aloud. An 87-year old grandma was hungry and asked for food – she was next to me, and the nurses were laughing at how with such a thin frame, she could talk so loud.
So, what was the difference? In 2016, almost 90% of the nurses working in the ICU were Christians. This time not one of them was a Christian.
But there was no gospel preaching in 2016. No one tried to convert any of us. No one asked us to believe only in Jesus. But whatever they did, they did with a smile. They did their duty too, but it was more like service. You could sense that there was a sense of sweetness in the atmosphere… the fragrance of Christ.
Yes, dear friend, if Christ fills us up, we do not have to open our mouths and shout from the roof top, that we are Christians. Everyone around us will feel the fragrance of Christ by the way we live. Are we emanating the fragrance of Christ or are we just doing our duties?
“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness.” (Isaiah 45:3)
When God made this promise to Cyrus, He was speaking of material treasures from lands of darkness that Cyrus would conquer. But we are not doing violence to the verse when we take it and apply it in a spiritual sense.
There are treasures that are discovered in the dark nights of life that are never found in days of unrelieved sunshine.
For instance, God can give songs in the darkest night (Job 35:10) that would never have been sung if life were completely devoid of trials. That is why the poet wrote:
And many a rapturous minstrel among those sons of light
Will say of his sweetest music, “I learned it in the night;”
And many a rolling anthem that fills the Father’s home
Sobbed out its first rehearsal in the shade of a darkened room.
There is the darkness of what J. Stuart Holden calls “life’s inexplicable mysteries—the calamities, the catastrophes, the sudden and unexpected experiences which have come into life, and which all our forethought has not been sufficient to ward off; and life is dark because of them—sorrow, loss, disappointment, injustice, misconception of motive, slander.” These are often the things that make life dark.
Humanly speaking, none of us would choose this darkness, and yet its benefits are incalculable. Leslie Weatherhead wrote, “Like all men, I love and prefer the sunny uplands of experience, when health, happiness and success abound, but I have learned far more about God and life and myself in the darkness of fear and failure than I have ever learned in the sunshine. There are such things as the treasures of darkness. The darkness, thank God, passes. But what one learns in the darkness, one possesses for ever.”
“I even reckon all things as pure loss because of the priceless privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8; Weymouth).
Shining is always costly. Light comes only at the cost of that which produces it. An unlit candle does no shining. Burning must come before shining. We cannot be of great use to others without cost to ourselves. Burning suggests suffering. We shrink from pain.
We are apt to feel that we are doing the greatest good in the world when we are strong, and able for active duty, and when the heart and hands are full of kindly service.
When we are called aside and can only suffer; when we are sick; when we are consumed with pain; when all our activities have been dropped, we feel that we are no longer of use, that we are not doing anything.
But, if we are patient and submissive, it is almost certain that we are a greater blessing to the world in our time of suffering and pain than we were in the days when we thought we were doing the most of our work. We are burning now, and shining because we are burning. — Evening Thoughts
“The glory of tomorrow is rooted in the drudgery of today.”
Many want the glory without the cross, the shining without the burning, but crucifixion comes before coronation.