A NAIL IN A SURE PLACE
poems and thoughts on this Great Gospel of Jesus copyright Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario 2016
Traverse It The favoured paths of Scripture
Traverse it Like the well-worn lane For the tractor To the south acreage Like the fence For jumping Into the favourite woodlot Like the path through the dunes To that special beach Long summers ago Like the last three blocks To Mother's house Where the smile and wisdom Always wait. Traverse it Like the words so specially composed On the night you asked her Like the gleam in her eye As she held that first child Newborn Like the little girl's Sweet voice of song Standing front and centre At the recital Like the flyway of the boy's First hit over the fence At the schoolyard diamond Like those special words of comfort
C. Doug Blair, 2015
Pronounced from the heart As one boyhood friend Was laid to rest. Can you traverse it? Just so? What did Jesus establish in Matthew five How did He serve in John thirteen What story told in Luke ten What prayers uttered in John seventeen What standard set in First Corinthians the thirteenth What hope presented in the fifteenth What tough test in Hebrews the twelfth? What shining image in the nineteenth Of the Revelation? This is your road map I have established it Not Pastor with the flashy Projected overhead Not wordy teacher With her seven DVD offer On the television. I, even I, have put this map In your very own hands With specialties For your very own heart. Traverse it Take it to your inmost sanctum And memory. Treasure it. Keep plumbing its depths. Be ye not conformed to this world But be ye transformed By the renewing of your mind That you might prove What is good and acceptable And perfect in my will. To yourself And to others With the need to listen. This commandment you have heard From my mouth. Never stale. Ever compelling And current.
Never Before. Never After.
Eternally Enjoying Trinity
C. 2014, Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON
Triune I never was alone you know I always had a team And Love the energizer for The things we do or dream And nothing was before I Am And not an earlier Cause And all creation felt our Hand And rallied its applause. The Son keeps holding All things sure. The Spirit broods new birth. And We the Three eternally Are lording over Earth. One gives. One given One gifting still. The Word and Breath of Life
In one accord The solemn Lord Preparing Him a Wife. A Bride is what the Church shall be And spotless made and pure In unity just as We Three To evermore endure. Pilgrim Encounters They are on the road And the way gets tough And they often doubt If they’re strong enough. And I meet them there Offering up a smile And we share some shade And we talk a while. They have come from far But the vision stays As they seek their God And His righteous ways. He is all their light And their choicest fare And He leaves His jewels For them everywhere. In a thought of home In a bird’s sweet tune In the morning star In the brilliant noon In the hush at dusk With the day’s work done. In the Good Book’s tale Of His valiant Son. They are never left Stranded in the lurch. And each fragrant bower Is for them a Church. And I think I’ll join In their pilgrim way ‘Long the upward road
To Eternal Day.
Paraclete in Oils He's broken for the pouring And leaves that little flask And freshens many a hurting face With more than they might ask. No, not so altogether So high and mighty on self He's crushed, He flows Outpouring, knows The life's not on the shelf. It's in the distribution The wasting, so it seems, As Adam lost the rib The cost for love Beyond his dreams. And Eve was nothing lesser Nor greater from the start Just depths to plumb That each might come To share the Triune Heart. Note: I can almost hear man saying to woman, white saying to yellow, liberal saying to straightened, vigorous saying to handicapped, â€œYou are so amazing. Tell me more. How might I help. Forget about me. You, Friend, are where it's at. And as I dig for the precious ores, I find the infinite swirling love of Father, Son and Spirit. And I am fulfilled.â€? Holy Orders Why all this fuss? About living alone About getting intense About building a fence
In this Way? Listen to Us.* There is Life in exchange And to Faith a wide range In simplicity shared Everyday. Can the Holiest stop When you get off your knees And explore the new trees Of the spring? When you laugh With a child Share an elder's wise smile Join a praising choir Simply to sing? It is all of God's gift Always meant to be shared Market streets A cathedral of sorts. As you mix it up, Love Like the Love Three* above. Just imagine the joyful reports! Note: Life is a sacrament. Commonplace expresses the holy. Bend your knees, but also rub shoulders one with another. There is a universal priesthood of believers. All Body parts are equal, excepting the Head Christ Jesus. Love We are told in John's First Epistle that God is love, and can be nothing else. (1 John 4: 10-14) This love was moved to give in the first instance when we were yet enemies to the message of the Cross of Calvary. Indeed there was never a time before God loved, and never a time when He was without objects for His affection. In ages to come He will be still loving, and will invite us to enter into and remain and thrive in such love. In the out-playing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Acts of Apostles we are given snapshots of the interplay, intimacy and complete accord of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At the conclusion of Jesus' momentous comments and promises in the Upper Room
meal, He prays that all believers will be one just as the Father and He are one. He promises to send another Comforter, the Holy Spirit to energize the Church, to bring to remembrance all of His Word, to equip for ministry and to evangelize with power. The Father sends the Son to manifest His will, plan and nature. The Son lives a life sinless and submitted to the mission of the Cross. The Father and the Son send the Spirit to inaugurate the Church, and to gift it for wholesome living and community. Hence we see the love of God as Giver, Given and still Gifting. A tremendous Unity, but still three persons having to exercise will, choice and preference each for the other. And how do we characterize such love? It is without limit. It goes to death and back. It does not expect recompense, but it yearns for intense engagement, that it might still give and illuminate. It satisfies hunger, loneliness, misunderstanding, physical and emotional need. It does not condemn, but rather exhorts from a posture of positive encouragement. It reassures that whatever pain is encountered along the journey, there will be absolute joy and no regret at journey's end. (Psalm 16). 8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
And that apparent end is only a beginning. It helps us immensely in confidence and in sense of belonging to realize just how harmonious are the mission and participation and outlook of the Triune Members. They are the prototype and they are the material for our participation, joy and success in Love. To recognize how they compassionate and cooperate in all things is to be well on the way to Heavenly Glory. It is also to manifest it in simple, pious living to others who might care to join in the journey. The Old Testament is full of references that â€œGod is Oneâ€?. And that would be one progressive Judeo-Christian revelation of Divinity, as men and women were enabled to comprehend it...and appropriate it. Jesus stumps the Pharisees in Matthew 22 (vv. 41- 46) as He asks how it is that Messiah could be both David's offspring and God, according to Psalm 110. The answer to the
riddle is standing right before them, and smiling. This Went Off Like a Bomb At page 72 of Altogether Gift: A Trinitarian Spirituality by Michael Downey (2000) “Our personhood is both gift from God and response to God. We are not self-made selves. Because authentic personhood is rooted in God and not based on intelligence or on what we achieve, we are fundamentally equal one to another. Though we are different and distinct from one another, there is no subordination among us: woman to man, black to white, poor to rich, simple to smart, gay to straight. All are equal because human personhood is Theonomous: from God and for God. Therin lies our identity. Who we are is rooted in an understanding of God who is personal, in whom there is no subordination of one to another The Son is not subordinate to the Father, the Spirit is not subordinate to the Son. All share in the divine nature equally, though distinct in their relations.”
“Tabor's light (the Transfiguration – Matthew 17) shines in the experience of human brokenness and loss, and in the deep desire for communion in one Love. God's grandeur is seen in the self-giving of Christ at the table and on the cross, pouring word and Spirit into his new body, the church itself. The church then is gift/ed to be and become a theophany* of love in flesh and breath, the house of Tabor's light for all the nations.” (*visible manifestation of God to man)
The Night the Evangel Hit Home "Enough, friends, to be in His family; To relish in the engagement of real, caring prayer; To know that His Testament bequeathes us Life, unburdened conscience and new spiritual power. To sense foretastes of Heaven. Enough, to see His artistry at break of day; To hear His serenade in the turtledove; His optimism in a youngster's laugh. To thrill at His power in the thunderbolt, In the stinging wind over dry fields, In the deluge that fills the watercourses In mere minutes. Enough, to hear his words of rebuke To the Enemy, the Slanderer, And his underlings who mutter, threaten or foreclose; To understand His assurance that no man, no devil Shall take a child out of His hand. This is our Father, As represented by our Elder Brother. This is salvation, Endorsed in whisperings of the Spirit. And this is forever." The gathering and the ushering away of new converts. The singing of "Just a Closer Walk with Thee". The dismissal of the assembly out from the tent to the clarity of a sparkling late-summer night sky. The scenes remain vivid and awe-inspiring to us, so many years later. And we know that we are His and in Him. We hear with fresh intensity Jesus' words to Mary Magdalene on that Resurrection Morning: Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God. (John 20: 17)
Second Crop Sometimes When Soil Is Right and Son Stays Longer
C. Doug Blair, 2014 Waterloo, ON
A-Courting I come a-courting Once again Within your hallowed halls But this time Not with pressing needs Nor puzzlement, nor falls. I only come to Think on you And all your mercy shown To one so frail And faltering But still your child, your own. And all around Your handiwork In nature's shapes and hues The big and small You made them all
Your breath of life infused. These halls are still They offer rest And insights rich, divine And in this peace The sure release That such a God is mine. My Little Ones These little ones Have known my name They're oh so quick to call At point of need When darkness comes When threatened with a fall. Not big on self Supremely poor In spirit, they confess. And that's their strength They run to me That all my power might bless. And many tried the bluster And posed the fashion's way And earned and learned Things over-turned Before the end of day. So now they give me one eye And never stray too long Their only care That I am there. My help, their trust and song. Into the Depths The story is a long one The wrong turns and the doubt The trouble taken willingly I'll never figure out.
The friends who all proved fickle The wasted days and nights The blurry end of benders The foul-ups and the fights. But this was what I wanted Or so it seemed for years As I sank lower in the muck And tried to hide my tears. Could something now be different? That preacher on the street Who said the Lord was there for me Forgiveness oh so sweet. I knew this was the answer A Word inside of me 'To pitch my pack of problems Into the deepest sea. And there sweet God forgets them'. It's what the prophet said. And I the stunned believer Found new life from the dead. Micah 7: 19 Jeremiah 31: 34 Measuring I come behind in no spiritual gift Not a one. Signs and wonders occur As I share the Word. Stubborn hearts soften And Jesus gains new siblings. I am constrained to do these things. By Love, and not of my origin. But the gainsayers are suspicious They allege I have no diplomas on the wall. (Heavens, I have no wall.) I do not hold my breath for their approval. Their measure is evil.
Competitive and fleshly. I battle against it Like some plague. Until the Spirit within laughs And liberates. He nudges, saying â€œHow can you boast in a gift? Wasn't earned or learned, Son. Be thankful. Period. And occupy. You wrote, yourself, that the dispensation Is all of my choosing. The Body develops In harmony. If it will only listen And take the small roles Member by member.â€? Yes I hear you, Comforter And your irony. Better I boast in my infirmities The stretchings, the slander, The stoning, the shipwrecks The starvings and sleeplessness For sake of my Master. And His glorious grace. Yes, better I boast of such. And leave the swelled heads in a tizzy. (2 Corinthians chapters 10 and 11) Never Met Such a Judge The seat's for her Don't say different. And those little ones Right beside. Let your faces Show a welcome. Dump your postures
Dump your pride. No she missed The teaching series. Coming new here Without shine. And she needs some care That's obvious. But she's precious And she's mine. The collection Will scarce miss her But she gives much more You see. She is needy And she knows it And she's not ashamed of me. Much unlike The current fashion Where the name of Christ Is hid. Talk of marriages And finance And the way to tame that kid. And the suppers Pot-luck pretty And the baseball when it's hot. She is seeking out My City. And you trendy bunch Are NOT. So the lesson Sits among you And the litmus test is here. Come up forward Gracious daughter At my feet Where all is clear. Psalm 68: 5 â€“ A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
Mouth Organ The porch now is cool And chores set aside And crickets move in for a chat. The moon o'er the lawn Awaits the pure tone Of reeds and my breath, fancy that. I give them a piece That must start out low Addressing the pain all around But upward its climb To regions sublime Embracing the Mercy I found. This little band dear With notes oh so clear Responds to my cadence and kiss. And night friends all pause Emotion the cause Drawn out by a wee song like this. So artless each chord Resounds to my Lord There must be His love in the tune Each breath and each thought By His kindness bought With heavenly choirs coming soon.
The Compassion I am as vulnerable As that Mother on the birthing table I feel every contracton Every convolution As you struggle to be What you were meant to be. For a while I harboured you In warm amniotic peace. But you must now
Address the environmnt. And Child, it is cold And often difficult. The closer you come To breaking out The greater my pain Alongside. I push and I wait And I push As you progress Inexorably Toward that world Of harsh rhythms. You crown, you come And you cry. So do I. And so will I At every new turn In the path. Such is the Compassion. Such is the Father Of Love. And I am never No never Going away. Redemption is easy to experience because it cost God everything, and if I am going to be regenerated it is going to cost me something. I have to give up my right to myself...The men who are up against things just now and who are determined to get at Reality at all costs, and will not accept a thing on the religious line unless that line states Reality â€“ these are the men who are paying the price for the next generation. The reason we are here in the natural world is because our mothers struggled for our existence, and the more unhindered the birth pangs the stronger and healthier the child. A thing is worth just what it costs. (Oswald Chambers, Baffled to Fight Better: Examining the Book of Job, 1931)
The Fifty-Third Still my words remain unchallenged
Though you say you're waiting yet For my Servant with the rescue Touching down on Olivet. He's the One who knows all suffering Like the Jews in every land And He harkens to my orders With salvation well in hand. Yes He bought it by His breaking Has already come to be. And his blood and breath were poured out On that horrid Roman tree. And I put your guilt upon Him Like the scapegoat sent abroad. He has purchased all your pardon And new favour from your God. And my words fit to the letter. Mercy come! Submitted Christ. He awaits with joy the Harvest Reconciled with His life's price. Sons of Abraham, may you follow In that honoured path of trust And receive my words with gladness And by faith, become the just. Galatians 3: 6-9
The Necessary Food
It's just as good as food you know The settling that comes In doing right And saying right In workplace and in homes. The Father speaks a fitting Word And one is quick to hear And ways and means Begin to show To act His will so dear.
Sometimes it's missed The gist of it So eager, yet off-base But Father shows And wisdom grows The more we seek His face. In tandem with the Lord of all Oh could it be so real? A certainty of victory To rescue and to heal. No thrill comes close No chore compares To fill the day with joy Than hearing His soft “Go ahead” And later, “That's my Boy!” Psalm 37: 4 John 4: 34
Magdalene She comes at dawn No clear idea How to bless Battered remains Of her Teacher. This was to be the day When death was bested. He had promised They had hardly heard. The stress of things gone wrong Very wrong Had clouded all thinking All hope. Mercy had been Made to appear Menacing Haughty robed ones
Desperate for His blood. Even the crowd Had parroted, â€œHis blood be on us And on our childrenâ€?. Sun is coming up. Mourning dove On that branch Sets the tone. The stone is rolled away. Probably more pain And inside no seeming Disturbance Some gravesclothes neatly piled But where the Teacher's body? Outside He waits Suggestions of a Dawning smile. She had always been So eager for His clarity His comfort. Precious Mary. Now first witness exultant To the Son Rising.
The promises have raised us up And made us look ahead And blessed with holy fellowship And new life from the dead. They set apart a special folk Who know that God is real Who lean on what He says and does And not just how they feel. They've seen Him clear the path for peace When all seemed bent on strife And food and drink in desert drought
As parched land burst with life. Such promises will stay the course And show us mercy's plan And honour, giving, gratitude To dignify each man. And One Man nobly leads the way And meets this life head on And triumphs through a Cross and Tomb 'Til Heaven is fully won.
Simon of Cyrene
I could scarce believe my ears As the Roman soldier said:
â€œYou there, stranger, lift that cross, Follow Jesus, good as dead.â€? I had missed the troubled crowd, Having just come into town. Now I pressed beneath the load, Joined to him who wore a crown. All around humanity, Yet my thoughts were fixed on him.
Why the back ripped to the bone? Why the cruel and thorny brim? How he struggled to ascend! How he laboured for his breath! Yet I sensed his body strove T’ward the hill marked for his death. It became a strange desire To relieve his tortured frame; To receive the brunt of burden, But to go on just the same. I was reckoning in me A compassion yet unknown, While he nobly took the taunts:
“Where’s your kingdom? Where’s your throne?” Momentarily we stopped To console dear grieving friends. In his voice was total calm, Real concern for their lives’ ends. Then, too soon, my privilege passed. We had come to Calvary.
“Thank you friend,” he gazed at me, Then they nailed him to the tree! Oh, the truth welled up in me! Could the blinded mob not see? Here their sin’s death penalty. Here the Crux of Destiny. In the man from Galilee. In my friend who hung for me. There were two who shared his plight, Robbers, bearing each his cross. One would hail him Lord of Light. One would chose eternal loss. And such love etched on his face For the dogs who pierced and nailed. And a priestly prayer for grace, And a final psalm exhaled. At his death the skies were dark And the crowd stood hushed and awed.
‘Neath the profile still and stark, ‘Neath the battered Son of God. And a soldier lowered his head
With a sense of grief and shame; For the gentle one now dead, For the folk who were to blame. And another thrust him through With a spear to his right side; Though already we all knew That the Holy One had died. And a woman beat her breast As she looked upon her son. And her sobs held one request, Just what evil had he done? How was I then to expect That in three days news would ring Of the tombstone rolled away? Of the resurrected King! But his converts would explain That for months the rabbi said, That Messiah must be slain And then risen from the dead. So, I give to you my joy. From my sin I am set free! And my praise I will employ For the one who died for me: Simon, stranger, lift that cross. Follow Jesus good as dead. I will follow him forever, Living for my Lord instead.
GALATIANS 2: 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me
Reality And I awoke And saw a crowd of singers Loudly rehearsing The victories of their King. Crutches and prosthetics
Discarded New skin formed over Past troubles Vision twenty-twenty And hearing right on key. The celebration embodying My journey's hope Of family and forgiveness Of danger's dwindling snarl. The inner Spring given voice Now free from any reticence From past stumblings Shame or confusion. This was the real Behind the screen of struggle Inequity and clamour. This was Heaven. And Jesus arrived...
It Shall Accomplish and It Shall Prosper
Lord you have said I shall be the head And not the tail Great shall be the peace Of my children I shall be a well-watered tree Nothing shall wither I shall walk a highway of holiness Danger and evil shall flee. The mind of Christ is mine And I am inseparable from His love. But the years pass And the hurts come And the facts in my face
Seem to laugh at the audacity Of your promises. And I grow old With the aches and pains. And my counsel is not Sought at the Gate. Far from it. Is this but a dream? Oh Child without end The sand in the glass Is but a trifle. Look up and look back And know that the Good Book Records but a day or two In my estimation. Can you say that it Is not all in line as spoken? You have only just begun Child And you certainly have won Child. (Isaiah 55: 10-12)
For the Bruised Grasping at the World of Suffering C. Doug Blair, 2015
Who's to Blame? You done set it up first And it run itself foul Listen to it burn And listen to it growl This wasted opportunity A Paradise so green Sweet peace gone out a-wailin' For somethin' quite obscene The critters used ta frolic But now they tooth and claw And mothers leave their chil'ren The worst I ever saw And man who held dominion And ruled in Eden's calm Now plannin' out each ghetto And playin' with the bomb You coulda done it different You coulda stayed the hand That wanted to play God instead But didn't understand Your one Law held the seed of choice And that the seed of Love And Love is all you ever asked Your perfect plan to prove. Instead man took the steerin' wheel And drove the bus to hell I'm askin God please intervene And all this rot dispel. I'm guessin' that you're much too grand To jes come down and fix But what if one clean Man you chose To join us in the mix?
Out of the wreck I rise. She came into the coffee shop. Dragging right foot and leg in a rhythmic semi-circle. Cocking a bent right arm skyward as if questioning something. Making all movements with determination. Folks courteously held the door and gave her a place of privilege in the lineup. Her response of "Gee thanks" was uttered in that low forced tone of cerebral palsy.
Obviously the staff were familiar with her and her favourite order. They carried the tray over to the one remaining table. It was a busy Saturday. Lots of seniors and little league families enjoying their neighbourhood spot. The young woman noticed that I was busy with my Bible. Out of the corner of my eye I could see her smiling as she arranged her cinnamon bagel and steeped tea. Suddenly..."WWHAAT chapter are you ONN?" I gave her full eye contact, smiled and said "Luke 17. You know Luke is my favourite Gospel, and he wasn't even one of the original disciples." "Seventeen, that was the one with the ten lepers healed. And the one who returned to give thanks wasn't even a Jew. Rather a Samaritan...Hi my name is Marilyn." A delightful conversation followed. Luke the historian. The shepherds coming to Bethlehem. The Good Samaritan. The writer with the most parables of Jesus. The writer showing Jesus' special treatment of women. The only one to give the powerful image of the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus. The beautiful account of the two men on the Road to Emmaus and the resurrected Christ I noticed that with discussion of scripture and of Jesus the woman's speech difficulty cleared up. I was almost tempted to say something about it, but refrained. I thought to myself 'Yes dear woman the time will come when the presence of Jesus will resolve all of your handicaps, to reveal a beauty outside suitable to match the beauty already within.' After about twenty minutes it was time for her to go. Over to the adjoining grocery store. In her particular fashion, and with her particular glow and grace. BBYYE Doug. Bye Marilyn.
(Taken from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers) Out of the Wreck I Rise
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" Romans 8:35 God does not keep a man immune from trouble; He says - "I will be with him in trouble." It does not matter what actual troubles in the most extreme form get hold of a man's life, not one of them can separate him from his relationship to God. We are "more than conquerors in all these things." Paul is not talking of imaginary things, but of things that are desperately actual; and he says we are super-victors in the midst of them, not by our ingenuity, or by our courage, or by anything other than the fact that not one of them affects our relationship to God in Jesus Christ. Rightly or wrongly, we are where we are, exactly in the condition we are in. I am sorry for the Christian who has not something in his circumstances he wishes was not there. "Shall tribulation . . . ?" Tribulation is never a noble thing; but let tribulation be what it may - exhausting, galling, fatiguing, it is not able to separate us from the love of God. Never let cares or tribulations separate you from the fact that God loves you. "Shall anguish . . . ?" - can God's love hold when everything says that His love is a lie, and that there is no such thing as justice? "Shall famine . . . ?" - can we not only believe in the love of God but be more than conquerors, even while we are being starved? Either Jesus Christ is a deceiver and Paul is deluded, or some extraordinary thing happens to a man who holds on to the love of God when the odds are all against God's character. Logic is silenced in the face of every one of these things. Only one thing can account for it - the love of God in Christ Jesus. "Out of the wreck I rise" every time.
Afflicted No Longer There must be a freeing of the mind and heart from the shackles of hopelessness. Hospitals are full of stories of remarkable reversals of illness simply because of the indomitable spirit of the patient. A pleasant word; a good confession; a smile; an ability always to laugh; an audacity even in the face of death. I know of many well-intentioned Christians who will give by memory every promise of healing contained in the Bible, and there are many. But perhaps the candidate for healing does not yet have an assurance of Jesus' loving disposition toward him. The ever victorious progression of thought and faith must be as follows. Jesus is proved history. As all-capable Son of God He came from Heaven, taught Heaven and its ethic, returned to Heaven and dwells there presently, working on the development of His Church in partnership with the Father and Spirit. He loves me and has shown me as much in undeniable ways. I thrill to read the account of His earth walk, selfless death and resurrection in the Gospels. I honestly regard Him as my best friend, and place my life and expectations in His hands. I trust Him more than I trust my own wants or understanding. He will bring about the best of all possible good either in me or through me. He has never done less with anyone who has reached out to Him.
This sort of abandon brings people to an experience of salvation. It comes as a consequence of the gift of repentance. It comes as the Lord draws the believer to Him. It is not manufactured by persuasion or resolve. The same applies to healing. A well-intentioned Christian worker might place the raw materials of truth, warning and promise before a candidate; offer to pray; continue to lift that individual up in the following weeks. But God will be the One who closes the deal. The victorious recipient, the honest-to-goodness child of faith is the one who can say, as with Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him". For such a one there remain no dark corridors to be traveled. The victory has come from within. The happy old Gospel song asserts, "The world didn't give it to me, and the world can't take it away".
Chaplaincy to Whomsoever
Visit them. Share in the predicament. Exhort. Pray. Look them square in the face. Name their name. Smile. Wish them God's blessing. Promise to come back. I am reminded of an excellent book by Henri Nouwen. It was entitled The Wounded Healer. In it he wrote of a young candidate for the priesthood who had taken to visiting regularly one chronically ill patient in hospital. The day came when it became clear that a very serious surgery was necessary, one with small percentages of success. The student, very shy and very vulnerable in his service, struggled with what to say, how to encourage in the ordeal. Finally at the tail end of his visit and with the procedure just hours away, he blurted out, "Harry I can give no guarantees. I have no surefire solution to offer. I only know that we have prayed; that God is good all the time; that I will see you after this is over. Keep looking up." And according to Nouwen that was all that needed to be said; should be said about the providences of God. It had to come from one who was not self-assured, not smug about the conditions of this fallen place, but triumphantly gambling on God. A wounded healer. This is one of our fundamental needs in society; that a caring one will always be there waiting, anticipating the gladsome reunion. It applies to tomorrow morning, the end of the school term, the work assignment abroad, the wandering into sin, the sojourn in jail or in hospital, the entrance into Glory. Love watches and waits and welcomes.
Don't Waste Your Sorrows
Years ago I was given a copy of a book by this title. The donor, Bob was a friend who taught a class of special needs children. He was aware that Hilary and I were going through difficulties and he wanted to encourage us with honest insight on the purposes of suffering. The author Paul Billheimer had enjoyed a vibrant ministry together with his wife until a serious heart attack put him on his back with little or no chance of returning to his beloved vocation. The Billheimers stayed close to the promises of God regarding healing and submitted to extensive treatment. The sense of hopelessness passed with the increasing realization of God's presence and love. Paul was returned to activity as counsel for the TBN Network (Paul and Jan Crouch). The testing and victory led to the above-mentioned book which is a part of a trilogy of titles (Purposes in prayer; purposes in suffering; priority of love). I strongly recommend this writer. He suggests that the greatest Sufferer of all is God who is so grossly misunderstood and maligned by the greater number of people. He is sovereign however, and His plans will succeed. He desires to partner with faithful children who are learning progressively to understand His nature and to walk in His ways. He wishes to accomplish His will in response to faithful prayer. Indeed, John Wesley went so far as to say that God will do nothing on this planet except in response to prayers and supplications from His children. We have a huge job to do in the way of intercession and we are told repeatedly in the New Testament that we are to PRAY - for friends, ministers, persons in authority, the sick, the deprived, the lonely, the wayward. But how are such prayers to be offered with fervency? The answer is Christ-like compassion. How is that compassion to come? Identification with the real facts and issues and challenges behind the case. How is that identification to come? SUFFERING. Therefore one must not "waste" his sorrows, through fretting, self-pity, anger or despondency. Look for the opportunities. Gain the audacity and the resource. Grow in Christ. Allow the greatness of His suffering and ultimate victory to chisel away at the size of your portion of gloom. And whatever the circumstances there is always cause to rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4)and one's inevitable inheritance by faith. Someone needs to hear this today. Someone needs to know that there is a precious currency and partnership in suffering.
Times Spent in Job
I go back to the Bible book of Job many times. Not because I have a morbid desire to
examine suffering; rather because in it I find a most involved Lord who is in charge of everything, even the devil, and who turns mourning into dancing in His own right time. The devil is real. The world is fallen. The hazards are many. None of this is beyond the Divine, or represents a failure or something that fell through the cracks. The fall of Lucifer because of pride (Isaiah 14) was foreseen by God as was the fall of Adam. That eventuality has been used to draw closer candidates for salvation and cleansing, to deepen relationship and trust, to provide stirring examples of hope and resilience and to generate hunger for Heaven and God’s ultimate community. The devil is sent on asignment.
But what about Job’s kids and livestock? They all get killed in this crucible. The children paid a price for irreverence, that is true. God’s greater purposes for the blessing of the Race have often required bloodshed and loss. He is sovereign; nobody challenges His agenda (read about Noah’s Flood or the rebukes of the prophet Amos).
For a time near the end of the Book Job attempts a pathetic challenge as God arises out of the storm. In the Lord’s comments one finds ample proof of His endless involvement with His creation, His understanding and cherishing, His rescue and coordination. Job also is a subject of this keeping care and the undying kernel of his trust causes him to repent in dust and ashes. A mighty victory has been won. He is instructed to stand as priest for the errors of his
pompous friends in this ordeal. The restoration of his estate and household joy is swift.
I find here some of the richest of literature. I have walked with this Book through personal crises. I am armed with answers for those who complain, “How could a loving God do or allow this terrible thing?”
I am trusting as God gives the grace, and confident that I am never in a place more seemingly hopeless than Job. And remember friends, God was there for Job. Testing his pulse every step of the way; knowing that new intimacy was to be the outcome.
Oh Yeah, I Heard
You took the job Didn’t have much choice you thought Way out of your league New work-mates snickered Made it awkward at break times. Homeward bound you prayed That I would make a way
Make my will clear. (You were chafing at my choice in this. Oh yes you were.) You even asked â€œWhere was I?â€? Son, had I been in hiding? Did I have other things of greater importance? Hear me now! There is nothing more important. Those men on the job-site Knew you were different Took stock of your moderation Your steadiness, your language. They knew you were in the wringer But not grousing. Just trying harder And finding some satisfaction In the new skills The new stamina and spring to your step. You were coming through, Son
And coming to me more often. That was my delight. And I would pour more in Stuff that your satisfied self In earlier days Never would have caught. Then the job slowed. Pink slips handed out. Thankful, respectful men Shook your hand. One…guy by the name of Harvey Wished you Godspeed Said he had been praying all along. (Another one of my men. A little shy, that one.) Seemed like a firing, didn’t it? Well, it was a graduation of sorts. And other doors opened. And you get it now, don’t you.
My hand never left your shoulder.
I thought that I knew What you’re going through. I thought that I knew… I was wrong. I once had a bout Of similar vein, Of similar pain. But not yours. I sensed that the world Had turned on me, A cruel destiny, Without hope. And even my prayers Met brazen skies. The tears, the cries. Where was God? But one day the blue Returned above. I felt His love, And it passed. I now see the test Had made me grow; Christ’s heart to know. I was changed. And this was to be My providence,
Of little sense, ‘Til I learned That God has a plan Which must use loss, To show the Cross To each child. So I will not dare Say what to do, ‘Til His work’s through, And you’ve won. But I will be here, A needed friend, An ear to bend, Like the Son. I thought that I knew What you’re going through. I thought that I knew… I was wrong. Note: We have been reminded that Job's friends did their greatest service when simply sitting in the sufferer's corner and keeping their mouths shut. "Providence" has been defined as follows: (initial capital letter) God, esp. when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.
(Today's entry in Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman) Music of the Storm "Nevertheless afterward" (Heb. 12:11). There is a legend that tells of a German baron who, at his castle on the Rhine, stretched wires from tower to tower,
that the winds might convert them into an Aeolian harp. And the soft breezes played about the castle, but no music was born. But one night there arose a great tempest, and hill and castle were smitten by the fury of the mighty winds. The baron went to the threshold to look out upon the terror of the storm, and the Aeolian harp was filling the air with strains that rang out even above the clamor of the tempest. It needed the tempest to bring out the music! And have we not known men whose lives have not given out any entrancing music in the day of a calm prosperity, but who, when the tempest drove against them have astonished their fellows by the power and strength of their music?
"Rain, rain Beating against the pane! How endlessly it pours Out of doors From the blackened sky I wonder why! "Flowers, flowers, Upspringing after showers, Blossoming fresh and fair, Everywhere! Ah, God has explained Why it rained!" You can always count on God to make the "afterward" of difficulties, if rightly overcome, a thousand times richer and fairer than the forward. "No chastening... seemeth joyous, nevertheless afterward . . ." What a yield!
From Luke 4 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy
government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house. (Isaiah 22)
About Doug Blair born London, Ontario, 1951 to Jack and Bev Blair graduated University of Western Ontario â€“ Law, 1974 married Hilary Hourd Children Lauren and Jordan general practitioner in law 1976-1987 in Chatham plant worker in metal fabrication shop Kitchener 1989 to present poet and nature hiker newsboy for Jesus
And for us Faith is in Jesus Not a force, or law or creed But a living, loving Saviour Come to earth To bless and bleed As the logos of the Father Living Word of God's great plan To redeem And reproduce The loving heart of God In man.