Prayer Answered by Crosses
by John Newton
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.
‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray;
And he, I trust, has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that, in some favoured hour,
At once he’d answer my request,
And by his love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea, more, with his own hand he seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe,
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this? I trembling cried;
Wilt thou pursue this worm to death?
This is the way, the Lord replied
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I now employ
From self and pride to set thee free,
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st seek thy all in me.
This poem, penned by the famous writer of “Amazing Grace,” visited me this Friday morning, and it brought with it tears. Such unexpected but welcome visitors.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
–Jim Elliot, Christian martyr
Just a quick post before I head off to a meeting. I don’t usually pay much attention to forwarded emails with inspirational stuff (because, admit it, most of them are recycled and hackneyed), but this one was short and thought-provoking (and it did not have cutesy animation! Hehe.) I thought I’d share.
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old University lecturer. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: “If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other’s cups.”
“Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money, and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn’t change.
“Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it.”
Hmmm… am I being a “cup” person or a “coffee” person? How about you? Incidentally, it is time for my after-lunch cup of coffee. Until next time.
I’ve been pondering these words of late:
“Nothing drives progress like the imagination. The idea precedes the deed.” – Theodore Levitt
Came across this quote in David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
“I am like a mosquito in a nudist camp; I know what I want to do, but I don’t know where to begin.”
Ouch. That stings. Hehe 😉
For someone who fell in love quite late in life, C.S. Lewis had lots to say. And here are two, so far, of my favorite Lewis thoughts on the four-letter word:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
“Why love if losing hurts so much? We love to know that we are not alone.“
Happy Heart’s Day!
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”
Father, a new week begins. Grant me wisdom and grace to pour heart, mind, and soul into pursuits of Your divine choosing. Amen.