Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This world is not my home

Lately I've been reading A Passion for God by Ray Ortlund, Jr., during my quiet time. It's a book of prayers and meditations on the book of Romans; and since our pastor is preaching through Romans right now, I thought it'd be a good companion to that. At the rate I'm going, with my quiet time being very limited these days, we're on the same track, as it will probably take us both a few years to finish the book! He's been preaching on Romans 12:1,2 for a few months now, but it's been great!

I've been wanting to blog for a while on this last passage I read because it was so good. It's from Romans 8:18-21.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

I love the poem that Ortlund put with this passage. It's written by Henry Francis Lyte, 1793-1847, (don't know him, but I like what he wrote). It's from a book called Hymns as Poetry by Tom Ingram and Douglas Newton.

My rest is in heaven; my rest is not here.
Then why should I murmur when trials are near?
Be hushed, my dark spirit! The worst that can come
But shortens thy journey and hastens thee home.
It is not for me to be seeking my bliss
And building my hopes in a region like this.
I look for a city which hands have not piled,
I pant for a country by sin undefiled.
Let doubt then and danger my progress oppose;
They only make heaven more sweet at the close.
Come joy or come sorrow, what'er may befall,
An hour with my God will make up for it all.

I struggle with rejoicing in trials, but for me, this poem has really put a tangible meaning on it. The writer is saying that suffering only makes heaven seem sweeter and nearer, so let it come! I confess, I am too weak in my faith to ask for trials, but reading this passage has given me a peace, and yes, even a joy in suffering.

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