Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation. Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.”
“Unfailing wells of salvation;
Abiding and full their supply:
No fear need assail any pilgrim
That these wells shall ever run dry.
My soul, at these wells of salvation
Drink often; drink deeply; drink long;
The road and the load, however taxing,
Shall find thee unjaded and strong.”
J. Danson Smith
Today’s Study Text:
“And she went up, and laid him (her young son) on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. And she called unto her husband, and said, ‘Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.’ And he (her husband) said, ‘Wherefore wilt thou go to him today? It is neither new moon, nor Sabbath.’ And she said, ‘It shall be well.’”
“The Shunammite” – Lean Hard
“Faith is continuing to believe in the promises and goodness of God. Faith is considering it certain that God will be true to His word. It is knowing that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3: 20).”
Raymond B. Dillard
Faith In The Face of Apostasy
Has there been a time in my life when I needed someone to “lean” on?
How has God held me close to Him when I have felt too weak to stand up on my own?
“What is the life of saving faith, when once begun, but a continual leaning on an unseen Saviour’s word.”
“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.”
The words above, penned by poet and hymn-writer William Cowper, reflect the personal struggles of an individual who suffered from severe episodes of deep depression during his life. Once after the lifting of the fog of darkness, which had covered him, he expressed his faith in God’s loving care with the words, “But trust Him for His grace.”
This same sentiment is evident in the life of the great woman of Shunem. After years of enjoyment and delight filling her home, her young son, a child of promise, was laid in her arms and within hours of a sudden illness coming upon the child, the Bible tells us the tragic news in II Kings 4: 20, “He sat on her knees till noon, and then died.”
Immense joy turned into sudden sorrow. I can relate to the way author F. W. Krummacher so vividly describes this heart-wrenching situation:
“Alas, for the poor afflicted mother! Her only child lies pale and stiff in her arms. He is dead…the beautiful flower is faded…and the serenity of the happy family in Shunem is departed with it. But why hath the Lord done this?”
How many times in your own life has some unthinkable tragedy driven you to your knees as you cried out, “Oh God, why? Why me? Why our home? What is the reason for this calamity? Why have You done this to me?”
As the Shunammite mother held the child she loved so dearly as close to her heart as she could, we can only begin to imagine how sorrowful she must have been. Here’s how author Krummacher portrays this painful scene: “Behold the broken-hearted mother with tottering steps, bearing her lifeless son to Elisha’s chamber! She lays him on the prophet’s bed, as if the child were only asleep. She once more gazes at him through her tears, and plaintively once more calls him by his name; but alas! A life to her so precious, is certainly fled, and she sees nothing but a corpse. Nevertheless she again presses his pale, clay-cold cheek with kisses, and bedews it with her tears.”
Oh how I wish I didn’t have to say this, but I know that many times over, right here among our Garden family, many of us have had to face the cold-hand of death as it clutched one we loved with all our hearts. And in the case of this mother, a child who, without a doubt, had been placed in her life by the gracious hand of a loving God.
Now what was she to do? What would you have done had you been this mother? Or even more to the point, to those of you whose heart has been torn to shreds by the lose of one you couldn’t bear to lose, where did you go for solace and for comfort in times of grief?
Several months ago, I was blessed to find a book of old Christian poems and one particular poem really stuck close to my heart for this weekend, August 31, was my “Daddy-Boy’s” birthday. Although he died many years ago, death I have found leaves a wound with a scab that never heals. I know that many of you feel the same way for you have written and told me so.
Here’s the touching way Edith Linn expresses how we have “One” to carry us through those times of greatest pain and sorrow:
“Child of My love, lean heard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child. I shaped it;
Poised it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to thine unaided strength,
For even as I laid it on, I said,
‘I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms
Of My Own love.’ Here lay it down nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder which upholds
The government of worlds. Yet closer come:
Thou art not near enough. I would embrace thy care;
So I might feel My child reposing on My breast.
Thou lovest Me? I knew it. Doubt not then;
But loving Me, lean hard.”
Today do you need to lean hard? Do you need your Father’s strength to carry you through the death of one whose love you carry so closely in your heart? Do you need the encircling comfort of your Father during the death of a marriage? Or do you feel that you need your Father’s ability to hold you close during the “death” of your financial well-being?
My prayer is that today you will “lean-hard.” Our Father’s hands hold up the entire universe – He can certainly hold you up, too! Our Father’s heart is large enough to include every one of His children – His heart holds you, too!
I found it interesting that it was in 1887, Elisha A. Hoffman penned the words to an old, all-time favorite hymn, Leaning On The Everlasting Arms:
“What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
From the life-shattering moment of holding her dead child in her arms until the Shunammite mother laid this precious child on Elisha’s bed, we witness a faithfulness and trust in God that in the end allowed her to grasp the key of hope as she unlocked heaven’s storehouse. For as one person so correctly observed, our faith in God will never allow us to fear that we have overdrawn our account in heaven. PRAISE GOD for this reality.
“Faith begins where man (or woman’s) power ends.”
“Now faith is the assurance, the confirmation, the title deed of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality (faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.”
The Thread and the Cable
“Though waves and billows o’er me pass
In whelming floods of ill,
Within the heaven of God’s love
My soul is anchored still;
For though the stress and strain of life
My thread of faith may break,
The cable of His faithfulness
No storm can ever shake.”
Annie Johnson Flint
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Over the past few weeks, because of the generous outpouring of gifts from God’s “Garden daughters and sons,” we were able to complete our current projects and send 10,000 bookmarks to Papua New Guinea. We also sent 500 bookmarks in the Hindi language to Northern India. Thank you. Now we are undertaking the challenge of sending bookmarks to Russia, Lithuania and Brazil and to several domestic abuse shelters here in the United States.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619