May 20

“Thou, who hast showed us many and sore troubles, wilt quicken us again” Psalm 71:20

God shows us the troubles. Sometimes, as this part of our education is being carried forward, we have to descend into “the lower parts of the earth,” pass through subterranean passages, lie buried amongst the dead, but never for a moment is the cord of fellowship and union between God and us strained to breaking; and from the depths God will bring us again.

Never doubt God! Never say that He has forsaken or forgotten. Never think that He is unsympathetic. He will quicken again. There is always a smooth piece in every skein, however tangled. The longest day at last rings out the evensong. The winter snow lies long, but it goes at last. (Streams in the Desert)

Great joy resides in relationship; joy on the highest plane bursts forth from rightly relating to the Lord Jesus Christ. A true disciple never pushes to the periphery what deserves priority. Communion cannot be incidental, else it never measures up. We need not seek three wounds to identify with Christ as did Julian of Norwich, but we must turn to Him rather than away when pain and sorrow descend like unwelcome fog that muddles our way. The dark night of the soul strips away all competing desire, leaving us naked before the cross. It is there, in earthly disillusionment, that we find our way again.

“Our Lord points out the utter unreasonableness from His standpoint of being so anxious over the means of living. Jesus is not saying that the man who takes thought for nothing is blessed — that man is a fool. Jesus taught that a disciple has to make his relationship to God the dominating concentration of his life, and to be carefully careless about every thing else in comparison to that. Jesus is saying — Don’t make the ruling factor of your life what you shall eat and what you shall drink, but be concentrated absolutely on God. Some people are careless over what they eat and drink, and they suffer for it; they are careless about what they wear, and they look as they have no business to look; they are careless about their earthly affairs, and God holds them responsible. Jesus is saying that the great care of the life is to put the relationship to God first, and everything else second.” (Oswald Chambers)

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