Posts Tagged ‘illness’

Some Trust in Chariots, and Some in Horses…

July 11, 2018

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On a recent visit to the historical site at Oldbridge of the Battle of the Boyne (July 1690), I was thinking very much about the spiritual analogy of a distressing situation we find ourselves in at the present time. When the Christian or one of his loved ones is faced with a serious health diagnosis, they will naturally get in touch with as many people as possible to pray about this situation. Very often, however, we find that in reality the people we feel that we can trust to pray for us are relatively few in number.

I am a slow learner but the Lord is teaching me much about human nature as I go through the deeply disturbing traumas that life can bring. Here are a couple of the reactions I’ve encountered as I’ve asked people to pray for a number of situations (not just the current one) over the years…

“Oh well, you’ve got to die sometime, haven’t you?”

“Oh dear… imagine that now. I wonder why God gave this person this disease…” (There must have been sin in his life).

“I’ll pray… but if it’s God’s will for them to go, you’ll just have to accept that.” (This person proceeded to make it clear that they were in a big hurry and had to go right at that moment. I smiled about this later and I understood that they were under pressure but really felt that their words could have been a little more sensitive…)

Indeed I am fully prepared to accept God’s will in any matter, for I know that He will carry me through all sorts of situations before someday I go to be with Him. However, if anyone approaches us with a request for prayer on something that is troubling them deeply, first of all we should leave this person in no doubt that we love them and really care about them and will pray sincerely about every aspect of whatever has been troubling them.

Unfortunately, even amongst professing Christians there are the “Job’s comforters.” I have found that those who have the greatest compassion of all are very often souls who have suffered much in their own lives. They listen, they are quiet, they are kind – and they care. And you know that they will pray fervently for you because they have matured in the Lord and they walk closely with Him.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2Corinthians 1v3&4)

Ultimately it is to Him, that His followers must turn in their distress. We pray for surgeons to have skill and for doctors and oncologists to have the knowledge and expertise to use the best and most appropriate treatments but we do not put our trust in them – or indeed in medicine. We follow along with prescribed treatments as the Lord leads but we can never, never put our trust in men. Yes, we can ask understanding souls who walk closely with the Lord for prayer but above all He must be our primary source of comfort and counsel in all our tribulation, in the knowledge that all good things come from Him.

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. Save, Lord: let the King hear us when we call.” (Psalm 20v7-9)

“All Things Work Together For Good to Them That Love God…” (Romans 8v28)

November 9, 2013

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I have recently read, yet again, that familiar story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis. Every time I read it, I feel sympathy once again for his father Jacob, who, on hearing that Joseph’s coat of many colours had been found covered in blood, “mourned for his son many days,” (Genesis 37v34). As a parent myself, I can imagine how heartbroken and distraught Jacob must have been at this news. I can also imagine how horrified the young Joseph may have felt to find himself eventually sold into slavery in Egypt.

Yet we learn later in Genesis 39v2 that “the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”

Joseph was to be dismayed later, when his master’s wife tried to cause trouble for him and he was subsequently cast into prison, but eventually his God-given ability to interpret dreams brought him into favour with his master once more.

And so, life with its happy times (but often troubles) carries us along and sometimes we may feel shocked and saddened to find ourselves in situations not of our making. However, if we have made the Lord Jesus Christ the Master of our lives, then we must trust Him to carry us through whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whether that situation is a serious health diagnosis or something completely different, the Lord has promised those who love and follow Him that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

Perhaps we may find ourselves in a hospital waiting room or ward, or in a support group with those who have been similarly afflicted. At first we may naturally ask: “why me?” Yet Joseph, although he was innocent of wrong-doing when he was thrown into prison, was greatly used of the Lord in these new circumstances in which he found himself. Joseph communicated with his fellow prisoners… “Wherefore look ye so sadly today?” (Genesis 40v7) He was able to interpret the butler and baker’s dreams, although one of them heard something which I am sure he would have preferred not to hear…

Perhaps, we too, may find ourselves in a place where we are the only Christian in the room, the ward, or even a prison cell. But the Lord wants to work out His perfect will through each and every chilling new development in His children’s lives. Not only will He draw His child closer to Himself… He will use him or her to reach others with whom they have been thrown into contact.

The child of God is going Home to the city that has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God will lighten it… “and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21v23)

The earthly heartaches and trials of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and all of the Lord’s ancient people and His prophets are over and while they walked this earth by faith, all things (even the seemingly terrible) worked together for good for them.

Despite the jealous action of his brothers (although it has to be said that Reuben tried to prevent what happened) Joseph eventually was to be instrumental in saving his family from famine. The Lord has work for each and every one of His children to do despite the immediate gloomy forecast!

The youthful Joseph was possibly frightened as those strangers took him away… but the Lord saw down the years: the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine and many more besides. He saw the “bigger picture.” As Joseph explained to his brothers… “God did send me before you to preserve life.” (Gen.45v5)

Today as we look at our immediate situations, perhaps we may feel apprehensive or even frightened but we must never forget that there most certainly is “a bigger, greater picture” and that for those who know Him, the Lord has plans, to the extent that their lives and example may touch the lives of unsaved loved-ones and many others with whom they will meet in these new circumstances in which they find themselves.

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Sowing the Seed on All Ireland Poetry Day

October 7, 2011

Seeing a window of opportunity in “All Ireland Poetry Day” on 6th October, I made a leaflet entitled: “A Little Selection of Christian Verse from the Irish Countryside.” It was interesting to discover again the old villages of Garristown and the Naul in North County Dublin. Garristown has a small Carnegie Library and the Naul is known for ‘the Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre’ which also accommodates a small coffee shop. I distributed my poetry leaflets to both locations and also to the village of Stamullen and to the library in the town of Balbriggan. Little seeds can sometimes blow much further than we think!

How good it is to use every opportunity we are presented with to reach others with the good news of salvation. Even when we find ourselves in situations that are far from pleasant, we can use these new developments in our lives to the glory of God and for the extension of His kingdom. During recent months I have been in hospital because of ill-health but I have made contacts in that situation and have had the joy of giving signed copies of my first book “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year” to some patients who I instinctively know it will touch.

In recent times I have also been thinking about the little maid who was carried away by the Syrians in 2Kings Chapter 5. I am sure that this was the last thing that she would have wished for herself, but that little maid was able to put a man of influence in touch with the Lord’s servant Elisha – and ultimately God’s healing and saving power!

I also think of Joseph who was sold by his brothers into Egypt; yet the Lord not only protected Joseph, but He raised him up to use him to save a nation from famine!

Yes, life can lead us down some dark paths, for even as Christians we live in a polluted and dangerous world, where satanic opposition should not be underestimated; yet we have this reassurance that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

And so we walk on, by faith, even through the darkest of nights, trusting that the Lord will protect us and bring us Home to be with Him forever, when life’s short day is over. Meanwhile, we have so little time to serve Him here and the night is fast approaching when “no man can work” (John 9v4). Therefore, let us ask His guidance for every new and unique opportunity that comes our way to reach the souls!

Below is one of the verses from my little poetry leaflet, based on the verse… “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4v18)

The Path of the Just 

Softly glowing light

Throughout the darkest night,

Every cloud its silver lining,

Every sorrow, love entwining.

My path meanders on,

In faith towards the Dawn –

Oh breaking glory, eternal Day,

Forever with my Lord to stay! 

© Elizabeth Burke

“When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee…” (Isaiah 43v2)

January 11, 2011

I have experienced a few troubled waters in my lifetime – but none so deep as those which presently threaten to overwhelm me. In recent weeks one minor problem after another trickled in to irritate my normally very happy existence and then the ultimate tsunami came crashing in when a loved one became seriously ill and was taken to hospital. Sometimes the events in our lives are so painful that we have no desire to convey how we feel to others. We feel numb, sick at heart, filled with grief…

One bleak night I sat alone, praying and the Lord gave me these words… “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43v2)

My faith is in the Holy One of Israel – and I rest in the knowledge that He will take care of it all. These days prayer is my constant companion. Under the present circumstances, when people say “Happy New Year” to me, I just nod uncomprehendingly.

What will this year hold for any of us? I only know that Jesus is my Saviour – and that He will take care of every concern and heavy burden that I lay at His feet. Is He your Saviour today? If not, please trust Him; life is difficult for me at present but I know that it would be twice as difficult if I had no access to the peace which passes all understanding. This is a simple little verse (written many years ago now) which sums up my attitude to every New Year…

I cannot know the future,

No more than change the past,

But on Jesus Christ my Saviour –

My every care I’ll cast.

Sometimes trauma and suffering in a Christian’s life can ultimately give birth to words which will touch the lives of others long after he has gone to be with the Saviour. I love the hymn “O Love that wilt not let me go” by George Matheson. The author was visually impaired but knew other suffering in his life. This hymn, the fruit of George Matheson’s suffering, lives on to inspire and comfort, for it expresses the Christian’s glorious hope in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Victory on our behalf, over sin and death and hell. Praise God for His great love and compassion for all of us! If you still do not know Him as Friend, why not repent and take His hand today?  If you do, these final two verses of the hymn will have meaning in your life, when the waters deepen…

“O Joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to Thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain

That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from Thee,

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be.”  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/l/oltwnlmg.htm

Links to this hymn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puWksKkI3Lc