When Sorrow Comes
What happens when the music stops playing? Who's in charge when the accident has occurred? Why did we have to watch our loved one stop breathing, or maybe we didn't have an opportunity to watch? How many times do we hear that the reaction to these circumstances, and those in similarity, are fist pounding fits against the God Who created us? As it seems, there are already more questions here than answers given.
Often the answers that we seek to such shock filled shattering moments in this life are never met, at least not in the way we think we should have them. Yet, the Truth is that God's Word has left us solutions to the problems we face as we journey through the challenges of living in this world. The fallen status of this sinful world along with the fallen nature of sinful man, keep us reminded of the effect called "evil."
While reading through the Proverbs this week a particular verse seemed to merit some further study:
Proverbs: 12:21 "There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief."
With a first look at this it would seem that this just couldn't possibly be true. After all, we know that bad things happen all around us and we see things we call evil happening to those we know as "just." When we find such instruction, it's always good to search theses things out with other passages to get a more accurate interpretation. While the Old Testament is full of passages reminding us of how God takes care of His children and keeps them from evil, we'll go to the New Testament and see Him doing the same.
In the book of Romans chapter 8 we get a picture of God's creation groaning and travailing in the pain of this life. (8:22) Yet, Paul also lets us know that not only they who are corrupt from the world, but the believers, those who "have the firstfruits of the spirit," are groaning as well. It's just seems that we need to acknowledge that there is a real trouble, and some serious tribulation to be encountered as we make this journey.
Yet, let's not stay here. We're not left without hope. We have a promise, if we know Him.
Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
Is this you today? Are you "called according to His purpose?" If you are, He's got your back. Even the evil thing that seems to threaten your walk is only going to be permitted in your life to the degree that is allowed by our Sovereign God.
Though we often can't have the answer to our "why?" we can have the grace and peace necessary to trust His hand of provision. He's the One Who makes all things beautiful in His time. If sorrow is your lot today, take comfort in His presence. Ask Him to heal your heart, as you trust His hand.
Abigail Adams (1744- 1818), was the wife of John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States of America, and the mother of 6th President, John Quincy Adams. At the age of 20, she married John Adams and they had five children. Her letters and memoirs are now considered major historical documents revealing life during the Revolutionary era. On October 16, 1774, just prior to the outbreak of war with Great Britain, Abigail wrote to her Husband John from their home in Braintree.
"I set myself down to write with a Heart depressed with the Melancholy Scenes around me. My Letter will be only a Bill of Mortality, tho thanks be to that Being who restraineth the pestilence, that it has not yet proved mortal to any of our family, tho we live in daily Expectation that Patty will not continue many hours.
A general putrefaction seems to have taken place, and we can not bear the House only as we are constantly cleansing it with hot vinegar. I had no Idea of the Distemper in producing such a state as hers till now. Yet we take all possible care by shifting her bed every day.
Two of the children, John and Charles, I have sent out of the house, finding it difficult to keep them out of the chamber. Nabby continues well. Tommy is better, but entirely striped of the hardy robust countenance as well as of all the flesh he had, save what remains for to keep his bones together. Jonathan is the only one who remains in the family but what has had a turn of the disorder.
Mrs. Randle has lost her daughter, Mrs. Bracket hers, Mr. Thomas Thayer his wife. . . .
The dread upon the minds of people of catching the distemper is almost as great as if it was the small pox. I have been distressed more than ever I was in my life to procure watchers and to get assistance. . . .
Thus does pestilence travel in the rear of War to remind us of our entire dependence upon that Being who not only directeth the arrow by day, but has also at his command the pestilence which walketh in Darkness. So uncertain and so transitory are all the enjoyments of Life that were it not for the tender [illegible] tender connections which bind us here, would it not be folly to wish for a continuance here? I think I shall never be
wedded to the World, and were I to loose about a Dozen of my dearest Connections I should have further relish for Life. But perhaps I deceive my self, and know but little of my own Heart;
"To Bear and Suffer is our portion here."
And unto Him who mounts the Whirlwind and directs the Storm will cheerfully leave the ordering of my Lot, and whether adverse or prosperous Days should be my future portion I will trust in his right Hand to lead me safely through, and after a short rotation of Events fix me in a state immutable and happy. . . .
Tomorrow will be three weeks since you left home in all which time I have not heard one word from you. Patience is a Lesson I have not to learn so can with your own time, but hope it will not be long er'e my anxious heart is re-leaved. Adieu. I need not say how sincerely I am your affectionate ~ Abigail Adams. September 16, 1775, Sunday, in writing to her husband, John Adams. Letters of Abigail Adams to her husband (Old South Leaflets, No. 6, Fourth Series, 1886), pp. 4-6.
Where do I begin? Why choose the title for this post "An American Woman"? Do I think this is descriptive of every woman who would call herself an American? It seems I could be asking for trouble, so lets trust I can make some sense out this.
I choose this title because I think it reflects the kind of people our American culture produced in it's earlier years. The faith that was instilled in us in our homes, towns, and general meetings with the people all around us. It gave us strength to endure the difficulties in life, courage in the dangers we face daily, a compassion for our neighbors, and love for our country.
You find these things in all cultures to some extent, but the environment in early America I think excelled as a result of the Christian influence that prevailed. Lets take a moment and look at Mrs. Abigail's response to life as it comes to us.
"I set myself down to write with a Heart depressed with the Melancholy Scenes around me. . . . thanks be to that Being who restraineth the pestilence . . ." We find in Abigail an abiding trust and heart of thanksgiving when the scenes around her changed to melancholy, when depressive forces of life pressed upon her, her response was that of thanksgiving and trust to her heavenly Father. God was so Gracious in this period of our history to regenerate so many of our people, that even the unregenerate were encouraged to believe and trust in God.
"Mrs. Randle has lost her daughter, Mrs. Bracket hers, Mr. Thomas Thayer his wife. . . . unto Him who mounts the Whirlwind and directs the Storm will cheerfully leave the ordering of my Lot, and whether adverse or prosperous Days should be my future portion I will trust in His right Hand to lead me safely through" This is incredible, O for the Grace of God in our lives! Here is a lady, loved one's all around her, the threat of death lurking in every corner, the real tangible sight of death before her eye's; yet we find at the foundation of her heart lies great cheer and joy in the trust in which she abides. Do we not need this Grace in our lives today as our society unravels before our eyes?
"So uncertain and so transitory are all the enjoyments of Life that were it not for the tender [illegible] tender connections which bind us here, would it not be folly to wish for a continuance here? I think I shall never be wedded to the World, and were I to loose about a Dozen of my dearest Connections I should have further relish for Life. But perhaps I deceive my self, and know but little of my own Heart;"
Here we glimpse a little further down in the reservoir of her heart. In all of our lives there is substance that drive our decisions, energize our emotional responses. Our rational for thinking through and arriving at the point of action are all determined by this element of our lives. As we look at her thoughts we can see this at work in her life. We see why such trust is made possible, through God's Grace she has been able to see the Glories of God as compared to the so called enjoyments of this life. It is when the desires of our hearts rest only upon the natural things of life and things to be had and achieved, that the treat of losing them brings us to fear and despair.
But when, like the First Lady, we have a glimpse of God's Glory, the lose of these temporal things of life bring little affect upon our soul. The greatest affection she has here are the affections of earthly relationships, but her affection to her heavenly relationship abides above all. Still, in true humility, she acknowledges the weakness of her own heart to deceive, and trust even that to the Mercy and Grace of God.
Do we possess such a trust and abiding faith? Do we stand today as the First Lady Abigail Adams stood? Is this the kind of people our American Culture is now producing? The hope of our country, the state of our personal being rest upon a return to the faith of our fathers. May we once again seek the Grace of God through Christ Jesus our Lord in our lives and upon our country and culture.
May the Grace of God be upon each of you,