The Bible records the response that people have when confronted with the presence of God in His holiness and might - they tremble in fear, usually sink to the ground prostrate, and seem to wish they were dead (Daniel actually almost died). But the Bible also records the tender and reassuring words of angels and the Lord Jesus to those lying in the dust before them: "do not fear." We will all face times of fear, whether it be times of acute awareness of our own sin before a holy God or times of struggle through life's difficulties. In the midst of these "waves of trouble," we need the anchor of that powerful voice that was able to calm the seas with a word, the voice of our loving Lord reminding us to take heart and do not fear, for He is near. We need to remember who God is - the sovereign ruler of the universe who is also our loving father. He has a wise and loving plan in every difficulty, and reminds us to trust and hold onto Him even when we can't understand the reason for our suffering. As you listen or sing, may you be encouraged with the beautiful truth that if you have put your trust in Jesus, you need not fear anything or anyone, for God has you securely in His hand.
Posts Tagged ‘Trials’
This is an original song based loosely on a hymn titled "O Zion, Afflicted" by John Roberts (1822-1877). It is a reminder of God's covenant love and faithful promise to work all things for good for His children (Romans 8:28), a truth we desperately need in times of darkness and peril. Whether you are suffering under great trial or are in a season of relative comfort, this song will remind you of God's love and care for you. Charles Spurgeon (1834-92) quotes from the original hymn in this excerpt from "Beside Still Waters," which serves as a great introduction to the new song as well:
When your faith endures many conflicts, and your spirit sinks low, do not condemn yourself. There is a reason for your season of heaviness. Great soldiers are not made without war. Skillful sailors are not trained on the shore. It appears that if you are to become a great believer, you will be greatly tested. If you are to be a great help to others, you must pass through their trials. If you are to be instructed in the things of the kingdom, you must learn from experience. The uncut diamond has little brilliance, and the unthreshed corn feeds no one, and the untried believer is of little use or beauty. There are GREAT BENEFITS to come from your trials and depression. The one who is much plowed and often harrowed will thank God if the result is a larger harvest to the praise and glory of God by Jesus Christ. If your face is now covered with sorrow, the time will come when you will bless God for that sorrow. The day will come when you will see great gain from your losses, your crosses, your troubles and your affliction. From your affliction this glory shall spring, and the deeper your sorrow the louder you'll sing. - Charles Spurgeon, "Beside Still Waters"
This is a harmonization of Bradbury's popular tune
(SOLID ROCK) with a gospel ("black" gospel) feel.
All of us will experience some degree of sorrow as we navigate through this fallen world, a world filled with sickness and death and the repercussions of relational sin when those most close to us hurt us by their words and deeds. How should Christians think about sorrow and the trials that are often its delivery mechanism? This song attempts to bring Biblical truth to bear on our bouts with pain and depression. If God had left us to what feel or think - to figure out His purpose in our trials by ourselves - we would surely be hopeless. But He has not left us alone; we can rest on what He has told us in His word. God tells us in Isaiah 45:6-8 that He is "the LORD, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity." God is the wise author of all of our circumstances, even our pain. That is a very difficult truth to accept, but through the gospel of God's grace we have these additional promises: "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28) and "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39) This song is a cry for the Lord to help us believe this truth for when trials and sorrows come we would be hopeless without it.
O weary saint is a song written particularly for those facing despair at the prospect of their own death or upon the death of a loved one. We are convinced that death is one topic that Christians don’t sing enough about; not what lies beyond death – the glories of heaven – but death itself. Even though Christians have the assurance that death has been conquered and its sting removed (1 Corinthians 15:54-57), we still face physical death and the fears and sorrows that accompany it. This song allows us to confront our grief but offers the encouragement of how Christ can transform it into hope so that we do “not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13) Notice that the song is written in a chiastic structure – the second verse is the crux through which the gloom and despair of the first verse are transformed into faith and hope of future promises. O believer, since you are in Christ you will rise again one day in soul and body to everlasting joy!
Romans chapter 8 is one of the most comforting passages in all of Scripture for believers. It asserts that once we are united to Christ there is no more condemnation for our sin (past and present), we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us to help us fight against remaining sin, we have been adopted in God’s family, even though we (and creation) suffer the effects of sin through pain and suffering, one day all things will be made new, and nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus. Perhaps the most precious gem of all is found in verse 28: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Even though the circumstances of our lives may be painful and confusing and cause us to doubt God’s love for us, we can hold fast to this promise by faith that even when we can’t see His loving purpose behind our suffering, we know it is there. He will work all things for our good and for His glory. Amen!
This song, based on the well-known text “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” is about the often-misunderstood doctrine of the sovereignty of God, specifically in the area of providence. The God of the Bible directs all things to fulfill His divine purposes, which have existed from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:11). Yet at the same time He is actively involved with His creation, guiding and shaping it in real time, using the choices of people in a mysterious way to fulfill His purposes without diminishing their responsibility. These are, for certain, some of the deep things of God, which is probably why Cowper opened the hymn as he did. This song grapples with God’s sovereignty in the midst of difficult circumstances, times when all that we see are storm clouds above us. The certainty of His sovereignty and His promise to work all things for good for believers (Romans 8:28) will drive us to rest on the promise that the storm clouds are in fact filled with mercy and will burst in a glorious rain of blessings at God’s perfect timing. The song calls us not to judge God’s ways and workings but to trust Him for His grace, to trust that behind what we see as a frowning providence His face is, in fact, smiling upon us.
This song presents a triumphant, even defiant view of life, death, and affliction. Henry Lyte understood the function of trials in the believer's life. 2 Timothy 3:12 declares that "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted," and James 1:2 encourages us to "consider it all joy when you encounter various trials." Instead of worrying when trials loom over us, we should rejoice because it is the very evidence that God is at work in us. But even though we are instructed to take joy in trials, we are still to long to be free from sin and its effects. Verse two reminds us not to seek comfort from our trials in this world but in the next – the city where we have permanent residency, heaven. It is possible to have so much confidence in our destination because of our union with Christ that we can even taunt Satan and his army. As the song says "so let Satan's army assail me full force." The amazing truth is that even Satan's plans to destroy us serve at the pleasure of the sovereign Lord of all who orchestrates every circumstance to bring us closer to glory. And the certainty of that glory is found in our union with Christ, that we have died with Him and are hidden in Him (Colossians 3).
This text is very heaven-focused. Not from the standpoint that it attempts a description of heaven, but more that it expresses the longing in each believer's heart for the day when our burdens will be lifted and we will be fully free to praise! The verses each give a different look at how heaven will be a relief to the believer - spanning the freedom from flesh to the rest we will have from trials. The final two lines leave us with a simple, but beautiful vision of the glorious transition we will experience one day. As believers, we are wise to keep our eternal destination ahead of us as a reminder that this world is not our home, and that our longing and expectation for home can bring us hope in any circumstance.