Friday, 30 June 2017

Day 30: Surely I Am Coming Soon

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At certain times, words can seem more trite than at others. In times of shocking, incalculable horror words of wisdom can feel completely repellent and inadequate for acknowledging the weight and devastation of our experiences.

Life in our world is too deep, and big, and complex; too horrendous and yet too thirsty for hope;  too nuanced, too human for triteness. So although these thoughts are hugely influenced by current events, I hope they don't sound too easy, or neat, or trite.

There is no such answer for our world.

Yet, there is a person.

Like every person- Jesus is not neat, or easy, or trite.

He is unfathomable! He has a character, personal reactions, he has mystery, he has glory- and though he can be utterly perplexing, he is equally compelling.   He is not trite, for He has suffered violence, and death and humanity. When he returns, we will see Him looking slain. He is not easy because has said, "Surely, I am coming soon." Yet our hearts yearn with the cry of, "how long, O LORD?" We feel the struggle of the wait and it seems so clear that His return will be the only satisfying answer.  Yet Jesus- whose kindness is so abundant to have many more repent- will not be "neat."

And yet, because of this, because he's not an "answer" or a maxim, or a meme, because he is complex, in a deep, mysterious, hopeful way- He is sufficient for the depth of the darkness. Because He is rich and sometimes inscrutable in his wisdom, He is the light that overcomes.

So below is something I wrote a few nights back. It feels inadequate in many ways- but it is the Person of Jesus, rather than any words, who is the cause for real hope.

To the darkness;
To nights of bloodshed and of wailing,
To the shrill cries of victory from the mouths of merciless slaughterers;

He is coming soon.

To the murkiest of perversions that have long lurked in the shadow,
To presumptions that threats might hold the power to conceal,
To all that has soiled innocence, trampled life, extinguished hope;

He is coming soon. 

To brutality; 
To violence; 
To arrogant, aggressive minds;
To tyranny in cities, and in homes and minds and bedrooms; 

To meaningless religiousity and empty masks of morality,
To staggering pomposity that would patronise the truth;
To stubbornness and cynicism and damaging indifference;
To prejudice, to selfishness, to unashamed egotism;
To judgments laid heavy without meekness, without truth;
To devastating foolishness wrapped in words of empty wisdom;

To clanging gongs and echoes; to every kind of lovelessness;
To tombs; 
to graves; 
to every evil power;

He is coming for His victory, 
and He is coming soon. 

"Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all tribes on earth will mourn on account of Him."
Revelation 1: 7

"In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth, and meekness and righteousness..."
Psalm 45: 4

"Surely, I am coming soon."
Revelation 22:20

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Day 29: I Make All Things New

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Written 31st January 2016. 

2017 is fast approaching, and I'm afraid. 

I think what scares me most about the New Year is this: what if nothing is new? 

This year has not been easy. I've felt grateful for unrelenting friendships, community brunches, tropical parties, the Scottish countryside, the richness of India, countless beautiful sunsets and undeserved opportunities to talk about Jesus. 

But it's also been a year where sadness has often been too heavy to bear. My health, my work, my character has buckled beneath its burden. 

And with each year that passes, familiar loads seem heavier; it matters more that I'm getting older, that I'm overweight, that I'm single, that I'm childless, that I'm so intense, that I'm XYZ when I'd hoped to be ABC. Each year ends and it feels worse; I look to the New Year and I'm afraid: what if nothing changes? What if, though the year is new, nothing else is?

But in to my fear, Jesus speaks and says: I make all things new

He says“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:3-5)

The first man was asked to keep the Earth and cultivate it, to dig and farm and tend it in to something fruitful and productive and rich. But he failed. Adam's legacy and pattern is not one of restoration or revival or life. His world is in tatters. This planet is orbiting its way to disintegration and oblivion, and all its inhabitants feel the choke of the thorns and the frequent triumph of the weeds and the arid, heartless, unrelenting sting of death. We look to the future and the only certainty we know is death. 

And that's why when we sing these words, our hearts leap and are filled with longing: 

"No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found."

I love these words. How far do his blessings reach? As far as the curse does, at least. 

Jesus, the new Adam, the ultimate Gardener, is making everything new. He is at work in the garden; he comes to restore. 

And the Biblical pattern for restoration is generous and glorious (scroll to the bottom of the post for a few examples): You will be restored double, you will be brought up from the depths of the earth, your greatness will increase, you will have everlasting joy!" 

The promise that runs through Scripture is that there will be restoration. All of the sadnesses and inevitabilities of life in Adam's death-ridden garden will be redeemed, revived, rejuvinated. Where death has reigned, life will! The years the swarming locusts have eaten will be restored to us; our shame will be taken away, our suffering will be replaced by glory...! 

But how do we know? What reason is there to dare to hope that any of these promises might be true? 

I struggle with this immensely when I look back at some of the disappointments I've felt and the recurrence of sin and despair... I cannot for the life of me fathom where redemption could possibly be happening! 

I think, as ever, my reason for confidence is Jesus. Not only is He the Gardener of the new creation, He's the firstfruits of it too. 

Paul writes: "In fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died... For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:20,22, 23)

Jesus is alive. He's the firstborn of creation; he's the guarantee that the broken world is being bound up and put right; He's the evidence that all things are being made new. 

When Mary was weeping in the garden, and thought she was talking to the gardener: she was! Jesus, the new and better Adam, the God Man who comes to make a world that's vibrant and fruitful and bountiful. But she was also seeing, in the flesh, a concrete, physical reason to hope that all things were being made new- the first fruits of those who have died. 

I find it hard to look forward to the New Year in very many ways. It can feel utterly discouraging because I feel like I'm still just a daughter of Adam, living in Adam's garden: I feel like I'm cursed, the ground is hard, work feels futile, and death seems inevitable. I'm absolutely convinced that I bear the image of the man of dust. 

But the Risen Jesus makes secure this promise: "Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we bear the image of the man of heaven." (1 Corinthians 15:49)

In the same way that I've in every way shared in the dustiness of Adam, I will share in the heavenliness of Jesus! 

I am comforted by the Risen Jesus, who gives me reason to hope that there will be new things in the new year. 

In the new year, the kingdom of heaven will grow quietly. There will be new mercies for new mornings. Brokenness will be restored in the Messiah's healing. And day by day by day, we get closer to a new heavens and a new earth, and a beaming Gardener, whose hands are messy from his toil but whose heart is full for the joy he's accomplished, welcoming us to a world where everything is restored, and all things are made new. 


You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. 
Psalm 71:20

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.
Zechariah 9:12 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
1 Peter 5:10

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.
Isaiah 61:7

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 
Joel 2:25

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Day 28: He Gives Us More Grace

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I say,

I will give you all my praise.
On Sundays. 

At least, during the singing.
Definitely during the final verse of that absolute belter.
And during the good bits of the sermon.

I will give you half an hour each morning,
Apart from on busy weekends,
Or days when the night before was full (of something that probably wasn't exactly giving you all my praise.)
On days when I am tired, too: then it might be less.
But I will usually give you that full half hour-
apart from when stress
and to do lists interrupt.

I will give you my money
I will consider it all yours
until I see something that I
really (am sure) I need.

I will give you the last say,
apart from when I give you no say 

at all.

I will give you my future.
For about two minutes. as long as it looks bright.
Then I will grumble about my present and I will give you bitterness.
I will give you doubt,
and darkness.
and despair,
even in the face of remarkable reasons for hope, and gratitude.
I will give you complaints.
And sometimes I won't even give you that.
I will give you love
or at least, 

I will give you excuses for my lack of love.
I will give you
deceitful motives
and selfishness
destructive words
and hurtful decision making
and self-pity
and despair.

I will give you countless reasons to condemn me.

And even when I will give you apologies,
and everything I can to make up for my cold, hard heart,
Even when I am handing over my purest sorrows,
and my most sincere repentance,
I know-
I will give you filthy rags."

Then You,
looking right at me,in my shame,
and shortcomings
and grim and blatant nakedness,

"I will give you.

I will give you a clean slate.
I will give you great and precious promises.
I will give you my Son.
And I will give you rest.
I will give you a righteousness that is not your own, but mine.
I will give you a new life,
a new heart,
a new spirit,
a new future.
I will give you a Redeemer,
And I will give you rest.

I will give you hope,
and a refuge;
a strong tower.
I will give you an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
I will give you power enough for perseverance.
And then I will give you a reward for having persevered.
I will give you the right to become my child.
I will give you every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
I will give you everything you need to approach my throne with boldness.
I will give you comfort,
and peace,
and joy-

and grace, 
and grace, 
and grace.
I will give you Jesus-
And I will give you rest. "

"Come unto me," he says, and I will give you." You say, "Lord, I cannot give you anything." He does not want anything. Come to Jesus, and he says, "I will give you." Not what you give to God, but what he gives to you, will be your salvation. "I will give you"- that is the gospel in four words. 
C.H. Spurgeon

But He gives us more grace. 
James 4:6

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Day 27: He is Faithful and Just

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"But if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive us." 
1 John 1

This is a really personal piece of writing (which is quite something, coming from me!). I don't really want to say it's a poem, but it's not really prose either and I'm not really sure it's very good... BUT, what I can say is that the Jesus it attempts to testify to is so good, and so faithful, and has wrought for us forgiveness of sins! Hallelujah!

I am beginning to understand why Wesley wanted ten thousand tongues; one heart, one mind, and one lap-top is not enough to come close to expressing our great Redeemer's praise!

But with the heart and mind I have, here's this, inspired by the glory of Good Friday. Because of the cross, our guarantee of forgiveness is no longer mercy- but justice. Because God was faithful, God will be just- and forgive us our sins.

Good Friday? Definitely.

He is Faithful and Just. 

Anguished moments in a moonlit garden, 
Droplets of blood fall heavy, 
Each its own plea for another way. 
But because You are faithful, you take the cup: 
It storms with Heaven's fury. 
But You take it, and start to sip; you will stagger beneath its wine. 
Because You are faithful; you leave the Garden, for Golgotha. 
You alone deserve to stay in the Garden; 
You alone have lived with the love that makes You welcome there. 
But because You are faithful, to me, You take the road to exile, to execution.
You take that road so I can walk by another Way.

As you wipe your tears and see the torches approach, 
You strain for a joy set before: the joy of mercy?- More. 
The joy of justice. 

Because You are just, 
my darkest nights are free from the shadow cast by that cup. 
There may be anguished moments, 
but there is no wrath left for me to drink;
its dregs have been consumed, because You were faithful. 

Condemned before you take the stand, 
Accusing eyes and palpable hatred surround You 
and the wisdom of the ages is on the tip of your tongue. 
Echoes from eternity could fiercely consume each and every ugly lie 
that gathers, rages against you. 
Every false witness condemns you as deserving of death. 
But because You are faithful, to me,  you remain silent before your shearers. 
Your Word spoke exploding volcanoes and thundering waterfalls in to being, 
and yet, here, when You could defend yourself, you stay silent. 

Because You are just, 
on that stand I do not hear the verdict I deserve. 
I am defenceless;
I cannot stay my judgement.  

I deserve to be condemned, 
but You were silent, You were faithful.
The Innocent heard "guilty", so that I might hear "RIGHTEOUS!".
You paid every last debt I had.
And now, because You are just,

I am free. 
Above my debts it is written in blood that speaks a better word: 
It is finished: 
Paid in full.

A splintered cross on a red-raw back, 
Cruel shouts. 
Cruel nails. 
You are lifted high, in shame, and the chorus of Your agony is laughter.
Coarse peals that delight at the sight of a dying King. 
"Let God deliver Him!" 
But because You are faithful, you do not. 
Your faithfulness lets God deliver me, instead. 
The heavens slam shut.
You are faithful. 

Darkness descends.
You are faithful. 

A criminal is promised heaven.
The Innocent is abandoned to hell. 

Heaven turns its back.
You are faithful. 

You are forsaken, but you are faithful. .

Blessed Jesus, King of Heaven. 

You have been faithful to me. 
You drank a cup of mighty judgement and poured out a cup of mightier grace.
Thank you, my Saviour! 

You are faithful, and did not turn away from judgement.
You are just, I will never be turned away from mercy.
You are faithful, and you were forsaken. 

You are just, and I am welcomed home.

"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,through the shedding of his blood... he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." Romans 3:25-26 

"Through your tears, comes our joy
From your death our life shall spring,
By Your resurrection power, we shall rise..."
Graham Kendrick, Come and See 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Day 26: Now You Have Received Mercy

Now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:10 

I recently read an article that I quickly concluded must be the dumbest thing on the internet. On further reflection, I realise there is an inordinate amount of competition for that spot, so perhaps I was a little hasty and hyperbolic. Nonetheless, the article was daft.

It was entitled something along the lines of: "33 KEY SIGNS YOU'RE NOT LIVING THE LIFE YOU DESERVE." 

There were several aspects of this article I didn't like. One example was the piece of advice that suggested that if there are people in your life who make you feel selfish, you must immediately cut them out, because they are more than likely "dragging you down". Cut them out! That'll teach them for accusing you of selfishness!

Anyway, the title of this article is in itself problematic. The presupposition behind much of this advice is that a) the life you deserve is better than the life you are currently living and b) if you don't enjoy the life you currently have, it must be because you deserve better.

The pursuit of "the life you deserve" is presumed within much of our culture to be a good idea, because of a tendency to believe we are fundamentally good. 

But today's five words jar against this philosophy. Especially the last one.

The Bible says something very different from "seek the life you deserve!": it says something uncomfortable, exposing, brutal- but something that is far better news. Often people perceive Christianity to be exactly that- a tick list of things you need to do in order to get what you deserve out of God. But the Bible doesn't stand for that!

In the gospel, God gives me something that is infinitely better (literally!) than the life I deserve. It doesn't pat my ego, it doesn't give me false hope, and it certainly doesn't hold back.

The gospel starts by saying: those who are self-obsessed, self-serving, self- justifying and self-congratulating have only earned themselves death. Those who are twisted in on themselves, those who have cursing, death-ridden tongues, who have feet prone to the ways of destruction, who have lived without any fear of God have earned death. The gospel says: all have sinned, all have fallen short, all are worthy of death.

I know I'm in that "all." I know my own tongue and feet and heart.

So where is the "good news" promised by the gospel?

Well, the good news says warns me away from the self-righteousness and self-deceit that lies in the path that pursues "the life you deserve"! The life I deserve is a life of half-hearted,selfish, loveless, godless destruction that I have chosen for myself. The life I deserve is not, though I might deceive myself, the life I want! The life I deserve, the gospel says, is death. I am therefore in desperate need of something more robust, something more hopeful, something outside of myself that is far better news than "the life I deserve."


Mercy does not give me what I deserve. That's what mercy is, and that's why it's so beautiful, so precious and so surprising.

Shakespeare said, "mercy is mightiest in the mighty." There is the mightiest of hope in the words of Psalm 103: "The LORD does not treat us as our sins deserve." What wonder, that the Mightiest might exercise mercy, that he might be so gracious as to not give me what I deserve.

But there should be something in me that is disturbed too. Should God let me off the hook? If he chooses mercy than can he still be just? Surely I want a just God at the centre of the universe, not a God who will overlook unrighteousness?

What my unworthy soul longs for is a God who might be both just, and merciful.

And that's why the cross is such good news, and why it reveals the character of God so beautifully.

The cross bears witness to the fact that the greatness of God's mercy doesn't come instead of justice, but as well as.  God is shown to be just in his judgment of sin, and merciful in his forgiveness of sinners: as God's justice was poured out, so was his mercy. His justice was poured out on Jesus, so that his mercy might be poured out on me. Jesus faced the justice of God, so that I wouldn't have to. In my place, Jesus suffered the life, and death, I deserved.

And now I have received mercy.

In my life, I can get both fearful that the LORD might treat me as I deserve, or bitter because I feel that he has not given me the life I deserve.

But the death of Jesus cuts through both: it brings good news on both counts: the Lord does not treat us as our sins deserve.

Whatever sufferings I may be enduring, I am not enduring them because I deserve to. Maybe I do, maybe I don't. But however I am being treated, the witness of Scripture and the cross is that it is not my being treated as my sins deserve.

I can't dwell in bitterness knowing that God has treated me with mercy instead of judgement, and for the same reason, I can't dwell in fear.

Countless times in my life I have looked to the future filled with dread. But these five words cut through the dread that sees the grimness within and because of it gazes terrified to the future: now you have received mercy. Countless times in my life I have looked at the present filled with bitterness. But these five words cut through the bitterness that believes my pale collection of tainted, reluctant good deeds put God in my debt: now you have received mercy.

As I look to the future, process my past and experience the present, sinful though I may be, there is bright hope ahead, because now, because of Jesus,  I have received mercy.

"Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds you so much dread,
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head."
William Cowper 

"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life..."
Psalm 23:6

"He does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities."
Psalm 103:10 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Day 25: And He Upholds the Universe

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And he upholds the universe. 
Hebrews 1: 3 

The reason this "Bible Bit" starts with "and" is not because I was trying to get up to the word count (#flashbacktomydegree...), but because I deliberately wanted to connect these five words, with the previous five... and then with all of the other five word packages.

God has spoken to us by His Son and he upholds the universe.
Christ died for our sins and he upholds the universe.
He himself is our peace and he upholds the universe.
Christ is interceding for us and he upholds the universe.

These five words are a timely reminder: God has power to do what He has promised.

In times where I've felt most battered by life, how I have needed this assurance.

The God who has said that he will be with me, that he has forgiven me, that he has seen my tears, that he is at work in all things for my good- this God, revealed fully in the Son... He upholds the universe. 
He who speaks to revive souls, to give wisdom to fools, to give joy to the broken, light to the gloomy, gold to the poor- He is powerful and mighty: He upholds the universe.

I should feel a little incredulous as I ponder these words. This is meant to be mind-blowing. How could the LORD who upholds creation possibly be so gracious as to make promises to me!?

The Biblical writers did not think humanity was at the centre of the universe. They did not take the interaction of the LORD who made the starry host with piddly little humans for granted. They wondered at it! They looked to the heavens and the majesty and glory and splendour and ineffable magnitude of it all and it brought them to their knees in awe and wonder and worship, that this universe upholding Maker had bothered to make himself known, and that when he did it was with tenderness and care.

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers- the moon and the stars which you have set in place- what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8:3-4

As I bear the weight of my brokenness and my bruising, as I face trials and tribulations overwhelmed with my own weakness, my own foolish, flailing powerlessness, four of these five words remind me of God's power to help me, for he upholds the universe, and the other word, and,  reminds me of His great, precious, gracious promise to. 

And as we remember the weight of our own sinfulness, we can look upward and see that the One who is our righteousness, is the One who sustains all things: 

Behold him there, the risen Lamb- 

My perfect, sinless, righteousness, 
The great, unchangeable I AM; 
The King of glory and of grace! 

How this humbles my heart! Oh the staggering kindness of a God who  a) has spoken to us b) by His Son and who c) upholds the universe. The Almighty LORD who keeps planets in motion, who keeps countless hearts beating, mighty tides turning, mountain ranges from tumbling in to oceans, has spoken to us in His Son.

 He has promised to be our help. He has become our righteousness. And he upholds the universe. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Day 24: God Has Spoken to Us

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God has spoken to us. 
Hebrews 1:2 

These are a series of questions I scribbled in my notebook in the middle of a teary church service, in the middle of a teary weekend, in the middle of a teary few months:

Wouldn't it be better if I wasn't walking wounded; if I wasn't limping; if my vision wasn't blurry? 
Wouldn't it be better if I was less of a smouldering wick, and more of a blazing torch; if I was an unshakeable oak, rather than a broken, bound up reed? 
Wouldn't I love better if my heart wasn't aching? 
Couldn't I go further if my legs were less tired? 
Couldn't I climb higher if my feet didn't slip; if I wasn't weeping by the wayside? 

Over the past weeks and months, the darkness has not lifted. Day by day I've felt the weight of it heavier, its destructiveness feral, its influence all consuming. And God's ways have seemed increasingly mysterious. When the fog of my mind clears enough to remember a time before I was 'brought low', I remember a brighter, more generous, more outwardly focussed, version of myself. And I think 'surely it would be better for me to be that version of me!' From the darkness I have cried out to God, desperate for him to take the pain away, perplexed as to why I have the temperament, biology, and life circumstances that have led me to a place that feels so completely overwhelming and broken.

It's so tempting in these times to focus on all the unanswered questions and to feel first perplexed, and then when an answer doesn't come, to give way to despair.

And this is true of my questions about depression, as well as my questions about other painful experiences in my life and the lives of others. At times, amid all of the hurt it is easy to desperately wonder why God is silent.

But God is not silent.

God has spoken to us.

Yes, there are unanswered questions. But "God has spoken to us" in and of itself is such good news. These five words tell us that God has made himself known. He has revealed himself, declared himself, shown himself... and He's been clear. He is not a puzzle that the cleverest people solve, or a reward that the godliest people earn: no! He is a person who has told us who he is! The unedited version of this verse reads:

"God has spoken to us by His Son." (Hebrews 1:2) 

This is even better news! Because through His Son God has said, "I am with you,", "I am given for you,", "I am on your side,", "I forgive you completely,", "I am not ashamed of you,"...  amid the things God has not said there are all the things that He has said- and He's said them to us, and for us.

Looking back on this 'five words' series (still not done yet!), I feel blown away by all that God's said to me through such little nuggets of Scripture, and challenged that despite all of this, I've often judged God by what he hasn't said to me, far more than by what he has. I've created a version of God that's an amalgamation of what the Bible says, and what my mind and my circumstances and my heart say. Unsurprisingly, the God created in my own image is not that great!

There's a verse in Deuteronomy that says: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children..." Deuteronomy 29:29 

The revealed things are a gift to us- they're something for us to cling to, to take refuge in, and in our darkness and weakness and fragility to lean all of our weight upon. And the revealed things liberate us to trust God with the things that he keeps secret.

Although there are some things God has not said, He has not left us in obscurity. He has given us words and promises that are ours; they belong to us. He gives us the words we need most to sustain us, to comfort us, to strengthen us, to bring life to us. He has said: "I have seen your tears," He has said, "I will give you..." He has said, "God meant it for good" and  "Christ died for your sins" and "It is God who justifies" and "surely I am coming soon" and "I will be with you..." and much, much more. (Yep, cheeky little plug for some other posts...)

As I write this, I am on sick leave for depression. I hope that makes clear that this "take God at his word" idea doesn't come from a place of triteness. Every day I am praying that the LORD will be in my healing. I am praying that I will be able to live free of depression's burden. And I am also praying that every single day, whatever happens, I will cling to what He has said more tightly than I cling to those things He has not yet revealed.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain, 

God is his own interpreter,
And He will make it plain. 

"If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." 

Jesus, John 14:9 

Note: My comments on Deuteronomy 29:29 were significantly influenced by what Jon Bloom writes in his excellent book Don't Follow Your Heart (Published by Desiring God).
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