Hidden Joy

Walt Alexander recently made fun of me for starting a blog. After that small expression of depravity, he shared with me that a recent version of “His Love Can Never Fail” is on the Indelible Grace IV CD. I checked out the official web site; several of the hymns on the album are absolutely amazing so I went ahead and ordered a copy.

One of those hymns is “I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow,” by John Newton. It resonated with something I’ve been specifically praying for: that God would increase my desire and passion for Him and continue to burn away the chaff in my life. What I’m realizing is, He’s answering that very prayer. John Newton puts it like this:

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

As I continue to seek specific direction in my life regarding possible future employment and a host of other issues (and thus far having received very few specific answers), I’m finding my joy increasing as God continues to call me to wait on Him.

Another related item: I found a Charles Spurgeon quote on the Girl Talk blog (yes, I visit it occasionally) that deals specifically with anxiety:

When a man is anxious he cannot pray with faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his Master, his thoughts are serving himself. If you would “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” all things would then be added unto you. You are meddling with Christ’s business, and neglecting your own when you fret about your lot and circumstances. You have been trying “providing” work and forgetting that it is yours to obey. Be wise and attend to the obeying, and let Christ manage the providing. Come and survey your Father’s storehouse, and ask whether he will let you starve while he has laid up so great an abundance in his garner? Look at his heart of mercy; see if that can ever prove unkind! Look at his inscrutable wisdom; see if that will ever be at fault. Above all, look up to Jesus Christ your Intercessor, and ask yourself, while he pleads, can your Father deal ungraciously with you? If he remembers even sparrows, will he forget one of the least of his poor children? “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning, December 19

It was interesting to see Spurgeon quote Matthew 6:33, because that is the same verse Greg Fox quoted when I talked with him on Sunday. What he said to me is so true: we tend to skip “the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and head straight for “all these things,” but it is precisely “all these things” that are out of our control. I must seek God first and trust in His sovereign care.

Over the last several days, it has been amazing to see God working His sanctifying power in my life. It’s almost like I’ve been a spectator watching the action unfold before me. God is so merciful to flood me with His grace and enable me to become more like His Son.

In other news: we have these tea bags at work that don’t taste anything like what they say they are. The apple/cinnamon, the orange, and the lemon teas all smell like their names but taste quite different. Actually, the orange tea is pretty close; it’s kinda like a mixture between tree bark and orange peels.

Comments

joanna said…
Good stuff. I liked that Girl Talk post on anxiety too.

How'd you get the links on the side? I couldn't get it to work.
Cap Stewart said…
Joanna,
I'm HTML illeterate, so it took me forever. Basically, I switched to a template that already had the links on the side. I copied the appropriate HTML code, then switched back to the template I'm using now. It was basically trial-and-error: I just kept pasting the appropriate code in different places and checking to see where they ended up on the page.