Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Best Lesson I'll Learn

"We cry, 'Abba, Father!'" - Romans 8:15

Several months ago, I read a sermon by Hugh Binning on this text, and found in it a truth that profoundly strengthened my soul to face adversity with gladness and comfort. Recently, I have had to begin practicing in earnest what I learned on that day. Before describing the circumstances that prompted such practice, here is the section of Binning's sermon that instructed me:

"It would not appear by the mean, low and indigent state we are now in that we have so great and glorious a Father, How many infirmities we are compassed about with! How many wants are we pressed with! Our necessities are infinite, and our enjoyments in no way proportioned to our necessities. Notwithstanding even this, the love and wisdom of our heavenly Father shows itself, and oftentimes more gloriously in the theatre of men's weakness, infirmities and wants, than they could appear in the absolute and and total exemption of his children from necessities.  Strength perfected in weakness, grace sufficient in infirmities, has some greater glory than strength and grace alone.  Therefore he hath chosen this way as most fit for the advancing of his glory, and most suitable for our comfort and edification, to give us but little in hand, and environ us with a crowd of continued necessities and wants within and without, that we may learn to cry to him as our Father, and seek our supplies from him.

This way of narrow and hard dispensations, that at first seems contrary to the love and bounty and riches of our Father, in the perfect view of it appears to be the only way to perpetuate our communion with him, and often to renew the sense of his love and grace that would grow slack in our hearts if our needs did not every day stir up fresh longing."

Oh, how we want to be settled in life. Our spirits yearn for security, and a knowledge that everything is in place for our comfort and necessities. But our Father's aim is not to have us settled. He often purposes to have us unsettled continually, that we may cry to Him continually.
Don't we all know the tendency in our hearts? We begin to get our lives in order and to feel satisfied that all is taken care of for the present, and our prayers become cool and tidy. We don't stop praying completely, but that desperate, "Lord, I NEED you right now! Oh help!" is far from us. Our Father loves to hear those words. He loves to be our hero and show us how well His love can sustain and rescue us in the midst of difficulty. So he will not leave His beloved children to be like the rich fool who said, "Soul, you have much good laid up for many years. Take life easy." Our Lord loves us too much for that.

So here is my opportunity. My husband has been away for 8 1/2 months, and hoping that the Army will bring him home at the stated time in two months so college can proceed as planned. We have no certainty that the timing will not change completely and send us back to the drawing board, with a faint "What now?" The least we can do is try to plan, and find an apartment to rent in time for his expected return. So we emailed, searched, discussed, and I finally went to Virginia to look at the few apartment options we had found. The first apartment didn't have a kitchen. The second one I looked at I fell in love with. It was just what we wanted -  affordable, new, beautifully situated - and after brief discussion, we emailed the owner our 'yes'. I came home. We waited for two days. At last we received a reply. The apartment would be rented to someone else. I said cheerfully, "God will provide something else" and then I broke down and cried.

But I am not writing all that for you to pity me. It's to illustrate Binning's text. See, after that news, we didn't know what to do, where to look - and still don't - and in my heart there begins to be a cry, "Oh Father, provide for us! Provide for us! Provide for us! Open a door for us!...Lord, what are going to do? Oh, provide for us!"  And there is the cry of the needy child to the Father, that would not have been there in the same way if the reply had been, "We'll send you a copy of the lease to look at as soon as possible." Whatever makes us say, "We'll just have to keep praying" is a direct dispensation of love from the Father who loves to hear His children pray. That helps me. That comforts me - because our Father is not cruel, loving only to hear us cry. He loves to answer our cries. "Ask, and it shall be given to you."

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