Cold, crisp air, bright lights, fresh holly
Mingle joy and melancholy.
In this season, saints are jolly
And still cold.
Friendly faces full of laughter
Offer hope. But what comes after?
Garnished rooftops hide a rafter
Bare and cold.
All the best of man’s adorning
May well hide a heart in mourning.
Sorrow rarely gives forewarning
Of its cold.
But this chapter of the story
Is, for him, known territory.
This is still the road to glory,
Long and cold.
Christmas came and comes each season,
A reminder of the reason
Hope endures in spite of treason,
Through the cold.
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I neither like nor understand your “no,”
Yet neither are required for me to trust
That you make straight the way I am to go
E’en when desires give way to thirst and dust.
If you withhold no good thing from your own,
Then your withholding must be for the best.
I may feel I am utterly alone;
I know you have a purpose for this test.
The LORD will never fail. Thus it is joy
To walk the path of sorrow for a time.
The surest hope, none ever can destroy.
No valley deep can halt the upward climb.
Your love holds fast despite what eyes can see,
Thus sight always defers to faith in thee.
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I want to walk with hope though there be sadness.
I want to be at peace though there be war.
I want to remain sober in the madness.
I want to trust, not knowing what’s in store.
I want my life to testify to blessings
Surpassing the self-pity that I feel.
I want to stand in spite of second-guessings.
I want my love to be alive and real.
I want my joy to show through circumstances,
Joy drawn not from my circumstance or sight.
I want my setbacks to serve your advances,
That, in the darkness, I reflect your light.
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I read Paul’s promise that God causes all things to work together for good for his people, and I think of Joseph. He recognized God’s divine purposes at work throughout the evil actions of his brothers, and, in so doing, he became a living example of the truth Paul later proclaims (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). No act, however evil, can thwart God’s sovereign purpose; he can use “all things” (Romans 8:28). When I consider this truth, I tend to associate the promise with the externals of life, which leaves me to wonder if the promise also rings true for the internals. I know God works through even the vilest of events which afflict us; does he work through our sorrow as well?
Oh how quickly we abandon
Our morality and will
When, to our complete confusion,
Circumstances strike us ill.
Ill-advised is our rebellion,
Yet the rebel’s part we play:
From disciple into hellion
When the storm invades the day.
Can we not remember glory,
That our Lord has won the fight?
Do we yet forget the story?
Light has broken through the night!
Suffering is light and fleeting
When compared to Christ above.
No bereavement, bane, or beating
Breaks the grip of God’s great love.
Persecution serves to purge us.
Suffering now sanctifies.
We are bought by Christ’s own purchase,
Seeing now with open eyes.
Therefore, we count joy our sorrow,
Singing praise in deepest pain.
Should we face our death tomorrow,
Even this is wond’rous gain.
Is God still good when I have been so wrong?
Or when I’m wronged, does love still win the day?
I read that he’s been with me all along,
But can it be when pain and sorrow stay?
Or might it be that his exalted might
Is meant not to pluck out but to uphold?
And could it be my eyes so weak of sight
Cannot perceive his plan of ages old?
Could he be working all things for my good
Although it seems that he is nowhere near?
Is this my furnace, this my cross of wood,
That shows me through my death that God is here?
How can I then bemoan the fiercest throes,
The holy forging, sanctifying blows?
Though through the darkest valleys I
May pass in my pursuit of thee
I will remember thou art nigh
And call to mind your love for me
And though my path be wrought with pain
From broken hopes and shattered dreams
I will find joy in you again
And rest in you by peaceful streams
And though the sorrow may increase
Beyond all limits I perceived
You are for me a constant peace
The Lord in whom I have believed
Though weakness and despair abound
As mortal flesh its limits reach
In you, my strength afresh is found
As I your aid do now beseech