Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Soli Deo Gloria: A Long Letter to One in the Valley

I am not skilled to understand
What God hath willed, what God hath planned;
I only know that at His right hand
Is One Who is my Savior!
 Dora Greenwell, 1873

{a pouring out of my own heart here, a preaching to my own heart (as Ruth would say), hoping it is good for someone today}


You say your heart will break soon and that it is stretched beyond its limits and feels like it might just tear in two, and that you cannot understand God's workings all around you. Perhaps you feel as though all His waves and breakers have swept over you. And indeed that may be so - that He has allowed round after round of waves to pound your soul. You know that He is Mercy, and that there are small and great, tender and severe mercies flowing unceasingly from His Hands to you. And somehow this knowledge does not always soothe your spirit.

I hear you saying that your mind is overwhelmed to the point that you do not know how to pray. Jesus prayed in His anguish, remember? And the heart of what He said was simple, was obedient: Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him. Abba, Father, He said, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will. Though you cannot imagine His particular Pain, oh the comfort of this: He can imagine your particular pain!

I daresay you have imagined in your mind the possibilities, the painful ones, that may result as the now uncertain future is unfolded in coming days. It is true that the Father's plans may indeed involve disappointment or grief - it would be naive not to acknowledge this in our minds. But please remember to take every thought captive to Christ. You do not know what He intends and it is both disobedience to Him and disservice to your own peace of mind to ponder the unknown too intensely. God has called us to think on what is true, right, honorable. The yet unrevealed is not real, therefore it is unworthy of being meditated upon.

The future and all it might or might not be is incomprehensible to you in this moment, isn't it? In His sovereign goodness, He has allowed you to be blind to what is ahead. But some things are certain. One such certainty is His presence. Jesus is Emmanuel; therefore He is with you. And there is His promise: I am with you always. There is also the guarantee of fruitfulness ahead, for when, through His grace, you persevere through this trial, you'll yield abundant fruit - a harvest of righteousness for Him!

Are you mystified over how you are have a heart of praise right now, a heart that thanks that trusts and even rests in the will of Jesus? How do you get from this hurts, and what if, and why to Thank You, God, my Father, for these struggles, this pain, this adversity? How do you move to the place of thanksgiving from the heart?

But this brings my thoughts to a deeper question. It is about the glory of God. Have you considered whether you have brought glory to God our Savior by the way you have walked through this valley? How sobering it was, when the Father once urged me during a particular trial, to look ahead, to imagine myself on the other side of it. As I saw myself in the sunny reaches of the valley, having passed through the shadowy parts, God made me look back over that time and ask: Did I glorify God by my behavior, words, and the attitude of my heart while He was refining me? The question struck holy fear in my heart. Oh, my Lord, for grace, for grace! Let me not miss the chance to give You glory! I have been so silly and earth-bound, so me-bound, in my heart. Forgive! Help! And He has, and He is helping, forgiving.

I know it all hurts and your soul is weary. I am glad to know that He who began this good work in you will complete it. It makes me sigh with relief inside to remember that He has plans to give you hope and a future. I like to think about how all this life He's given is a tapestry that He has woven, breathtakingly beautiful from the front. But if you turn it over, you see the workings, the seemingly disorganized, possibly even knotted up places that were required in order to create the loveliness of the tapestry. It helps to remember this, most of all, in all things: that because of Jesus, it is well with your soul no matter what else rages around you and in you. Regardless of circumstances in this life, your soul is held in His Hand and nothing, nothing, nothing can separate you from His love.

And so I close with this,

Soli Deo Gloria!
Glory to God Alone!


scripture references:

Psalm 42:7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of our waterfalls; all Your waves and breakers have swept over me.

Mark 14: 35-36 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for You. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Matthew 28:20 ....And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Romans 5:3  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.

James 1:4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Job 1:21 The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.

Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Romans 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  1. A "preaching" my own heart needs to hear daily. Thank you for speaking truth, admonishing in love, and seeking His glory.

    Beautiful photos to go with beautiful words.

  2. "There is also the guarantee of fruitfulness ahead, for when, through His grace, you persevere through this trial, you'll yield abundant fruit - a harvest of righteousness for Him!"

    What encouraging thoughts...thank you so much for your gracious exhortation.


  3. These hopeful words could not have come at a better moment. Thank you.

  4. Your words stand firm on the rock. He is our rock, He is faithful, He will never leave us nor forsake us.

    I hope that your words brought comfort and peace to you. May His light shine through the darkness and may we all continue to seek Him, because 'seek and ye shall find' we are promised.

    Very powerful message.

    Blessings to you.