free counters


In Times of Struggle

Greetings All,

This week's 'thought' comes from a book by J. I. Packer, entitled "A Grief Sanctified - Passing Through Grief to Peace and Joy." It deals with the Puritan Richard Baxter and his grief at the loss of his earthly love - his wife Margaret.

Though 20 years younger than Baxter, she was converted through his preaching, became his bride on April 29, 1662, worked tirelessly with him in the ministry at Kidderminster, England, and died 19 years later on June 14, 1681 at the age of 45. (He was 65 years old when she passed and survived her by another 10 years.) Our 'thought' is actually a "covenant" she wrote in poetic form just before her death, pledging herself once again unreservedly to God (as she had done at her conversion).

Since committing ourselves to God is something we need all do, and revisit, or reaffirm at various times of spiritual struggle, I felt it may be a reminder for all to take a moment to do the same (remembering as you do the point she so poignantly makes in the third stanza - whatever you hold back from Him you lose, and whatever you are willing to lose for Him you save). Enjoy.

"My whole though broken heart, O Lord,
From henceforth shall be Thine,
And here I do my vow record:
This hand, these words are mine.

All that I have, without reserve,
I offer here to Thee;
Thy will and honor all shall serve,
That Thou bestow'dst on me.

All my exceptions saved I lose;
All that I lose I save:
The treasure of Thy love I choose,
And Thou art all I crave.

My God, Thou hast my heart and hand;
I all to Thee resign.
I'll ever to this covenant stand,
Though flesh hereat repine.

I know that Thou wast willing first,
And then made me consent,
Having thus loved me at the worst,
Thou wilt not now repent.

Now I have quit all self-pretense,
Take charge of what's Thine own.
My life, my health, and my defense,
Now lie on Thee alone.

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that into God's kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.

Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet,
What will Thy glory be?

Then I shall end my sad complaints,
And weary sin full days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing Jehovah's praise.

My knowledge of that life is small;
The eye of faith is dim:
But it's enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him."

What are you going through? What struggles are you facing? Sickness? Hardship? Financial loss? The loss of a dearly loved one? The possible loss of your own life? They are all times where we need to recommit ourselves unreservedly to following the Christ who "loved us at our worst," and "will not now repent" (stanza 5). He will not turn away from loving us. Let us not, by the grace He gives, turn away from loving Him.

In the Bonds of Christian Service,
Pastor Jeff