Saturday, May 28, 2011

Empty Places....

 I've been reading in Andrew Bonar's diary all week and have been impressed by what a godly man he was. As I was saying to my sister in law, what one writes in a diary isn't the same as writing something intended to be published where the author probably tends to show their best side! To my mind a diary shares what is on the heart so I have found his thoughts to be pretty amazing at times. Then yesterday afternoon I came to the part where his wife died very suddenly after giving birth to a daughter. I kept rereading what he shared about his thoughts and pain afterwards and it made me cry. Here is one thought that really struck me:

 "..on looking back I can see very many lessons she has taught me as to how I should feel toward the Lord Jesus, and how truly He may come into the place which He has seen good to leave empty." 

While I'm thankful to say that I've never lost someone that close to me to death, I, and I'm sure many others, have their own 'empty places' that cause much pain....and I was encouraged by the way he was so submissive to the Lord in it, yet at the same time not denying that it was hard and painful. For awhile now his book Heavenly Springs has been a favorite of mine to go to for encouraging quotes, but I think it will be even more special to me now knowing his story, and the suffering that went on his life, yet realizing he was still able to trust and love the Lord so much. It's inspiring, comforting, and encouraging to me, and I hope to others. Below are a few more excerpts from his diary in the days and weeks following his wife's death.

"... Lord, let me not love Thee less, but more, because of this stroke."

" Lord and Saviour is henceforth to be to me instead of what I have lost..But He does not forbid me to mourn. Nor will He forget to bless." 

"The very many letters of sympathy that have come tome are so many tokens of how the Elder Brother has been thinking upon me, touching these hearts and saying, 'Go, speak in My name.'"

"The Lord's kindness to me in many ways has been quite remarkable. I have had very many letters full of sympathy, and really most helpful, for they were just messengers from my Lord's presence to carry me
cups of His new wine."

"....then I remembered,  'He doth not willingly afflict,' and when I compared that with 'These have quieted my spirit,' I thought I saw that the Lord in afflicting was doing what costs Himself some pain, and that when it was over He was glad and could truly pour out consoling love and tenderness, I think He is doing this with me."

[reading abut Abraham sacrificing Isaac] 'Because thou hast hearkened . . . therefore blessing, I will bless thee.' So I have tried solemnly to give my full consent to this doing of the Lord, and will look for the blessing following. My surrender is not so full nor any way so difficult as Abraham's ; but in measure it is what the Lord calls for from me. May He enable me to make it really without reserve or regret, and to wait for the after-blessing."

"But, blessed be the Lord, I have been kept until now from doubting His love in the stroke, though I have almost slipped,' ready to say ' Lord, could it not have been otherwise?" 

"This seems to be my time for glorifying and serving the Lord by bearing and suffering, as formerly by active doing. Lord, may I not fail now. But still the sorrow comes from time to time with sudden violence." 

"....I have been thinking too of the greatness of God. It is because He is so very great that He can and does attend to each one's smallest care and sorrow. Each one soul is to Him as much as a world, and he can bend down with the same love and loftiness of sympathy on that one as if that one were all. The very greatness of the ocean enables it to fill to the full every creek and bay. It is thus that my littleness helps to set forth God's exceeding greatness, and His sympathy in my sorrow, and His marking every tear, all sets forth the immensity of His grace and compassion. Therefore I can plead, 'For Thy name's sake, Lord, deal bountifully with Thy servant.'"

Sharing with Serenity Now.

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1