“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
– Victor Hugo
I’ve been worrying about a lot of things lately — the car that could break any day, the out-of-state job my husband could get, etc. — and I need to hear this today. God is awake.
“We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God.
“Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien
I like this quote, but it seems a little strong to me. I don’t agree that we can grow in godliness only by myth-making, but I think it can be one good way.
When you love a story, and you ask yourself why, you can find out what your heart is really yearning for. I love stories full of ordinary people becoming heroes, finding courage, making sacrifices, and out-smarting the bad guys. I want to be a hero, and I want someone who loves me enough to make sacrifices to save me.
Do you agree with all or part of this quote? What do your favorite stories say about what you love?
“The true Scriptural source of consolation, in the face of all that troubles us, is to keep steadily before our eyes the second coming of Christ. We must grasp and realize the blessed fact that the rightful King of the world is returning soon, and shall have His own again; that He shall put down that old usurper, the devil, and take away the curse from off the earth. Let us cultivate the habit of daily looking forward to the resurrection of the dead, the gathering together of the saints, the restitution of all things, the banishment of sorrow and sin, and the re-establishment of a new kingdom, of which the rule shall be righteousness.”
– J. C. Ryle
Sometimes, it seems like evangelical Christians spend too much time meditating on propitiation/justification and their own sin, rather than focusing on God’s love for us in our current, every-day lives and on his future promises to us. God does more than just forgive us.
I really like what Ryle says here. The true Scriptural source of consolation isn’t that God’s wrath has been turned away and that I’m not going to hell. That’s a historical fact, but it was just the beginning. The biggest consolation for me has always been that God is making all things new — he is teaching me to love others more than I love myself, comforting those who have pain and loss, finding those who have gone astray, reconciling families that have been torn apart. He is caring for us now (often by teaching us to care for each other) and preparing a place where he will wipe away every tear and crown us with glory.
So stop focusing on your own sin and unworthiness. Focus on God, and then look around and find ways to help the kingdom come by loving the people around you.
Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
“Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of Him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man.
“If the holiness and awful power and majesty of God were present in this even, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there also.
“And, this means that we are not safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break in to and recreate the human heart, because it is where he seems most helpless that he is most strong, and just where we least expect him that he comes most fully.”
– Fredrich Beuchner
I had grasped God’s garment in the void
but my hand slipped
on the rich silk of it
The “everlasting arms” my sister loved to remember
must have upheld my leaden weight
from falling, even so,
for though I claw at empty air and feel
nothing, no embrace,
I have not plummeted.
– Denise Levertov
I have felt this way many times, and I’m thankful for this poem, because it put my feeling into words.
You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them.
– P.T. Forsyth
For affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it and made fit for God by that affliction.
– John Donne