Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Added grace...

I innocently stumbled upon a very powerful John Piper sermon this morning while I was working out.  I found a sermon called, "To be a mother is a call to suffer" and I thought it would be helpful to me as I endure a season of constant discipline, along with hurt from my child and long prayers for patience and perseverance and wisdom.  As it turns out, this sermon was on Mothers Day 2001 -- and talks a little about mothers.  But mostly about suffering.

I don't know what your "thorn" is right now.  I don't know how, or if at all, you're hurting.  Trials and struggles and pain come in so many different ways.  But never without God's holy providence and His sweet promises.  Maybe, though, this sermon will give your heart a little encouragement.

Listening to this sermon was very overwhelming to me because it became so apparent how much I care about the "why me?" and making sure that I'm cared for or made much of.  It's easy to think that hard times should be about us, I guess.  But it's not how we're suppose to live as followers of Christ.  I want desperately to magnify Jesus.  I want to bring Him glory -- no matter what.  Nothing, NOTHING, should ever mean more to me than Him.  I can't say that's how I live or how I always feel.  And that breaks my heart.

Either way, at the end of the sermon John Piper quotes Elizabeth Elliot {heart} from a memorial service she spoke at for a missionary to who died.  EE read this poem, by Martha Snell Nicholson {mendicant = beggar}:

"I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throneAnd begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, "But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me."
He said, "My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee."
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.

I can't tell you how powerfully this poem resonated within me.  Did you catch the last phrase?  His perfect grace gives us thorns so we can see Him more clearly!  I desire to live so humbly and trusting of my God.  He gives perfect gifts -- even when it has the face of despair, even when it cries out in joy -- and His gifts will never, ever lead us away from His throne of glory and grace.  And I know that through "thorns", He is revealed -- the beauty of His face.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul! 


christin said...

awesome! I love the poem.

247mama said...

beautiful, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


Baby Hancock said...

Blessed me with that poem!!!!