“[God] comforts them when in trouble, strengthens them when weak, makes their beds in sickness, revives them when fainting, upholds them when falling, and so seasonably and effectually manages for them, that though they are persecuted and tempted, though their enemies are many and mighty, nothing that they feel or fear is able to separate them from his love.”
– Works of John Newton (2015), 1:344.
“When God’s people are beset by temptation or persecution, a revelation of God’s character and glory is the best remedy. His power guarantees the final victory, his justice guarantees vindication of the right, and his goodness and magnificence guarantee blessing and comfort. The blood of the Lamb demonstrates that solid redemption has already been accomplished. Even in the midst of trials and persecutions, God is still the ruler. He controls everything.”
– Vern Poythress, The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation, 97.
I walk around making strong eye contact with the floor. Though generally flat and non-responsive, it’s often more help than animate objects. I can fall on it, salt it with my tears, and beat it with my fists. I haven’t yet tried that combination on a human. My hunch is that it wouldn’t go well. There’s something about the idea of receiving blows that scares most people off. And the ones it doesn’t scare off aren’t the type of people I like to be around.
Problems like the indoors. They stay inside because they’re allergic to the sun. Knowing this, I step outside for a walk. The high-pitched laughter of robins greets me. Their sounds ride on a breeze and call to memory Jesus’ words about their Keeper. “Look at the birds… your heavenly Father feeds them.”
“God cares for you, dude,” I shout up to the one standing on the telephone wire. I want to remind him, lest he forget. But I’m only returning the favor. He reminded me first.
“Heavenly Father, you are the Lord of Armies, the commander of the universe. Though we belong to you we confess that we often have cold, hard hearts toward you.
We know your voice, yet we often fail to obey it, preferring to go our own way. We serve you with mixed motives, secretly hoping that our obedience will purchase your favor, and that it will motivate you to serve us as we think you should.
We don’t see our hearts clearly until we ask for things and you do not give us what we want: when we suffer and you won’t take the pain away; when we’re scared and you don’t remove those feelings; when we’re depressed and anxious and the black despair won’t depart.
Then we get confused and think our circumstances reveal how you feel about us. We spin off into sinful patterns of escape, hopelessness and revenge. Father, forgive us for using you and for failing to listen to your voice.”
– Christ Presbyterian Church, Prayer of Confession, 4/23/17
“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”
– Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay
“Spring comes in fits and starts
Unsure of itself and when it’s meant to be.”
– Evergreenovela, Bluejay
“There are many good reasons for writing that have nothing to do with being published. Writing is a powerful search mechanism, and one of its satisfactions is to come to terms with your life narrative. Another is to work through some of life’s hardest knocks – loss, grief, illness, addiction, disappointment, failure – and to find understanding and solace.”
– Willliam Zinsser, On Writing Well (New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 2006), 283.