It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel-"HE careth for me." Christian! do not dishonour religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance. . . .
O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in his providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, his heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one of his family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not his grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that he loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, he has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Jan. 6 morning selection).These words encourage me all the more for knowing that their author was himself no stranger to need and suffering. Spurgeon suffered physical pain from the autoimmune disease gout, emotional pain from chronic depression, and the grief of lives and property lost when the building where his congregation met was destroyed in a terrible fire during a worship service. From such a man, these exhortations bear living witness.
If God cares for me, why need I care too, indeed? Can I trust Him for my soul, and not for my body? "He has never refused to bear [my] burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God."
Knowing as I do that gratitude to God helps allay "fretful care," let us give thanks for God's gifts in the first week of this new year:
::the infinite-personal God who created all that is, was, and will be cares for me
::His mighty strength to bear our burdens
::wise words from times past
::watching The Return of the King as the year changed, possibly the first time in our marriage we've actually stayed up that late New Year's Eve
::grace of sleeping late to compensate
::quiet New Year's lunch with parents
::greater tolerance of ankle brace instead of boot
::more time together Saturday than usual
::a cancellation open next Monday with ankle doctor to get a second look
::people who pray
::pleasant conversation with some new acquaintances after church
::strength for an extra-long service
::free misto from Starbucks this morning
::central heat and hot water
::encouragement this morning from Genesis 18 and Matthew 6 to pray boldly and persistently
(from the gratitude journal, #8663-8680)