what was gain; what was loss

Katie and Renee were scheduled to leave at six.

After turning off my phone several times, I managed to look at the time. Twenty till. Needless to say, in order to see them off, I shook a leg.

Now they’re gone.

Without going into how sad it is to see people leave, it probably holds more importance for me than it should: is our joy in Christ, or in people in our lives? Is it in the Cross, or in events in our lives? Do we weep for sin, and joy in Christ, or are we caught up in treacherous levels of introspection? Are we depressed at our vileness leading to more vileness, or are we looking at Christ in faith, leading to more faith? I cannot remember how many long and tedious months it has been since I have leaped from bed to meet with God, like I leap from bed before friends leave. Our ties are stronger in heaven than on earth, whether we like it or not. But it’s easy to feel like we’ll never leave: or at least, to believe where we’re going. Waking up to a spiritual mirror every day paralyzes us: so self-reliant that it seems there’s no room is left for the Holy Spirit , so proud that we’re struggling in worship which should come naturally, so immature that we seem still to see from whence we came. The Father of Lies is not afraid to tell us these things that are true about ourselves: but they never go beyond the earth. The eyes of heaven, the eyes of God, see a child, a Son: the eyes of hell see a captive eternally lost from their clutches: but our earthly eyes don’t see what’s ahead, and can’t get free of what’s left behind.

We’ve been given much more than we lost in Adam, but our emotions find chains easier to believe: we raise our eyes with the blessed Psalmist, and cry out with feeble lungs that seek themselves to dry, “How long?”

We listen with wary ears to hear the sentence of despair because we refused to rejoice. The voice of our Father come loud and clear, “Return, O soul, unto thy rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with thee.”

The prescribed means of Grace have not grown rusty. When God reveals Himself to the thirsty soul, somehow we wonder how we complained in our trials: we see the hand of the loving Father in our circumstances: what was to us counted gain, were lost to us that we should gain Christ. What we counted loss, of friends, of comfort, even of spiritual progress, which seemed to have been poured out like water, was gain to us by the loving power of Christ.

Then once again, we sing with gladness at the goodness of God, that our light afflictions are but for a moment, that though we see not what’s ahead, we know the latter end is the glory of our Christ. And that’s enough.

In the midst of my lost musing throughout the day, I snuggled in with a volume of New Park Street Pulpit, Spurgeon’s sermon, to peruse the table of contents for something to point me to Christ in the midst of all the tossings: I came with my own ideas of what to look for, but God could not have me look long. It was His truth, and I didn’t get to pick. The very first sermon was on the beautiful words of Malachi 3:6, and on the Immutability of God.

And it’s there we have our hope; the best the can be given us, is God. We want a small portion of joy and God gives us Himself instead. It’s God: His character is not like ours: and our character are molded to find our joy in Him. The way in is the way up: in other words, as it is our portion to look at the complete Gospel, the starting place is the same as when we were first brought: God. Lesser streams have proven bitter and dry; but when God empties us, in His filling us we find our all.

Soon shall the cup of glory,

Wash down earth’s bitterest woes

Soon shall the desert briar,

Break into Eden’s rose

The curse shall change to blessing

The name on earth that’s bann’d

Be graven on the white stone

In Immanuel’s land.


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  1. #1 by Ellie on July 29, 2010 - 6:36 pm

    “The prescribed means of Grace have not grown rusty.”
    What a glorious reminder. Lesser streams have indeed proven bitter, but Oh Christ! this great fountain, this “deep, sweet well of love.” We look to Him believing but feebly and hoping but weakly; we look to Him only because all other streams have proven unsatisfactory; we expect to find in Him condemnation and only look because we can do nothing else. We look to Him expecting but little, and we find in Him all.
    And then words run out. We sometimes feel we could talk of Him forever, and so we could, but we would never find the right words to tell of Him. He is beyond words, we find. We must say in the words of the hymnwriter:
    “The love of Jesus, what it is,
    None but His love ones know.”
    Our words are feeble and they don’t mean what we intended them to mean, but He is unchangingly strong.
    Hallelujah, what a Saviour!!

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