Thoughts on the Gospel by David Joy



Thoughts on the Gospel

February 2016 No.229


‘My grace is sufficient for thee,’ ...2 Corinthians Ch 12 v 9


Grace and Strength for Every Season 

As I write this the trees are bare; and despite a beautiful sunrise the ground is white with frost. The wintry season reminds me of the differing seasons in our lives and that ‘time and chance happeneth,’ Ecclesiastes 9 v 11, to us all; and of how different things that happen to us are often used by God as ‘a word spoken in due season,’ Proverbs 15 v 23.

A Word in Season 
Some time ago I watched a spider weaving a web which over the course of a few days grew into a large and intricate work of art.

As I watched, I found myself wishing I had the spider’s energy and strength to help me cope with life’s different seasons, with its problems and difficulties; and its commitment to its task to help me serve God better. Then later that day, I found this message on my lap top.

God did not promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain.
But he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears and light for the way. God’s Grace is Sufficient

Later still, I found myself looking once more at the spider’s web which seemed to have grown in the short time since I last saw it. As I considered the tiny size of the spider and the comparative vastness of its web my own problems began to shrink in size and difficulty.

Then, remembering the message on my laptop, it was impressed upon me that there is no problem so great that God cannot give us strength to cope for His grace is sufficient for us, (2 Corinthians 12 v 9.)  

God’s Greatness 
As I mused on this, and the thought that God is able to ‘shake the heavens, and the earth and the sea and the dry land,’ Haggai 2 v 6, I realised that in comparison our problems are insignificant.

And yet, we can allow feelings of helplessness to cloud our minds so that we have only a hazy view of the ability of God to overcome our difficulties.

A Hazy View 
I remember walking round a loch on a day when the air was calm and the water in the loch was like glass.

I marvelled at the way that nature had painted a silver birch tree onto the mirror like surface of the water. Far off mountains, too, were clearly reflected, every rock, every crag and gulley crystal clear.

And yet as I gazed towards the distant mountains a slight haze obscured their majesty but strangely their reflection in the water appeared clearer.

Friends, it at times becomes apparent that God’s presence was with us during a time of need only because it is, like the mountains clearly reflected in the loch, evident by the end result of a matter.

Reflected Glory 
In this life we see God ‘through a glass darkly,’ 1 Corinthians 13 v 12. He may bless us with glimpses of His glory but they are mere reflections of the ‘glory which shall be revealed,’ Romans 8 v 18. This is so beyond our comprehension that the Bible tells us ‘Eye hath not seen nor ear heard neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,’ 1 Corinthians 2 v 8.

But although we may not always be able to discern Gods presence as clearly as we might want, we have His promise that ‘’l am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,’ Matthew 28 v 20, to encourage and strengthen us in every season.

Always There
If we have faith in Jesus Christ; believing that ‘He died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again,’ 1 Corinthians 15 v 3,4;  then like the immoveable mountains He will be with us in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

Nevertheless, the fact that He has been there and has been helping us, as I have said, is only at times clearly apparent in the eventual outcome of times of trial.

Why? Because it may be His way of building up our faith by causing us to reach out to him more as we await a clearer sense of His guiding presence: or He may be driving us to root out problems that have caused us to neglect prayer and communion with Him so that He is no longer foremost in our lives.

Committed and Strengthened 
As winter turns into spring and summer and autumn and winter lie ahead, may we find that in life’s changing seasons God’s grace enables us to be as fully committed to serving and pleasing Him, as the spider was to weaving its web.

And when confronted by seasons of trial that cause our view of God and the awareness of His presence to become hazy, may we be aware that greater by far than every difficulty, is the strength that He can give us to overcome even what appears to us to be insurmountable mountains.