Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The advancing edge of your powerful storm

Lost, alone, isolated

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice…
He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under His feet…
He made darkness His covering, His canopy around Him…
Out of the brightness of His presence clouds advanced…
He shot His arrows and scattered my enemies, great bolts of lightning routed them.

Psalm 18:6, 9, 11-12, 14

Amy Carmichael

There was one who was unafraid of any evil that might rise against her, unafraid of even the hint of bad news. Her heart stood fast, believing the Lord, trusting in the tender mercy of God for ever and ever.

How often had He risen as light in the darkness! How often she had called on Him from the very center of trouble, knowing that He heard her the instant each storm broke upon her – knowing He would come at once and deliver her. He had been so full of love, and she had sung and proclaimed His goodness, saying, “Who is like the Lord our God – who has His dwelling so high, yet humbles himself to take part in things that are far below Him in heaven and on earth?”

But now…

She found herself standing alone, isolated, looking into a great, gray mist.

Fold after fold, the hills lay before her, but always in impenetrable mists. She could see no path. Only a little track in the valley below. She felt quite alone. For a while she stood. Listening. Feeling an inward isolation and uncertainty harder to bear than any acute physical pain had been.

Softly, voices began to speak within her. Now stealing her courage, now filling her with courage again:

“My heart and my flesh may fail…”

“But God is the strength of my heart, and the good portion that is allotted to me – forever!”

“My closest friends avoid me, or else they have no idea what is happening in the depths of my soul. And even my own family do not understand…”

“Nevertheless, I am with you moment by moment, because you have reached out for my strong hand.”

“My tears have flowed day and night, while unbelievers look at me and think, ‘Where is your God now…’”

“You shall answer for me, ‘The Lord is God!’”

“Why are you cast down, O my soul – and why are you so unsettled within me?”

“Hope in Me, your God! For you shall yet praise Him, who gives the very blush of health to your face.”

“No, the path I’m forced to walk is hidden from God…”

“I know the ways you must walk. All your ways are before me. As for Me, my way is perfect and I make your way perfect. The people never thirsted even when I led them through the desert. Will you faint, though I lead you through mist-clouded hills?”

When her inner struggle ceased, she looked again at the mist – and saw that a great light was growing in its very heart. At once, she knew that she was not alone. God was her refuge and strength, present with her, ready to help in times of trouble! (Psalm 46:1)

Suddenly, He was all about her path. He would make good on His promises of lovingkindness toward her, and He comforted her. He would not let any of her hopes be disappointed. Nor could she fear any longer, for those gloomy paths that lay ahead, through the folds of the hills, they were open ways before Him.

So it was enough for her to only see the next few steps. He would go before her and make His own footsteps a way for her to walk in! She was filled again with assurance: The One whom she followed could see through the mist all the way to the end of the path.

And as she walked the misted way, she was given a song to sing: “You, my Lord, never fail those who seek you…!”

As she walked and sang, others whom she did not see because the mist lay heavy all about her, heard her singing.

And though she did not know it, she gave many comfort and helped them follow in the path of His footsteps too – all the way to the end.

Prayer

My Father, is the mist around me really the advancing edge of your powerful storm, to drive away my enemies?

I know that you hear my voice when I call for help. Give me courage to stand, through all the gathering darkness, so that I can encourage others when your brightness is at last revealed.

1 comment:

PeacefulLady said...

That is powerful. Thanks. ~I