And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.
King James Version (KJV)
by Public Domain
William Cowper is reported to have suffered from deep intermittent depression. A brief look into his life reveals the common temptations of man: loss of love, failed efforts, and unreached goals. Yet he is credited as one of the most beloved poets of his age. It has been several hundreds of years since he penned his hymns and poems but they speak to me today in fresh whispers and wisdom.
Out of the great depths of disappointment, he was able to garner tremendous strength and understanding. For many of us, this is the path to knowledge. Our trials teach us so much more about life, the Lord, and ourselves than prosperity and success.
The Lord’s mighty arm to save is always above us not only for eternal salvation but for the daily ongoing help needed to make it through each day. The same God who demonstrated His power to the Israelites in their ancient trials stands by to intercede for those who call upon Him for help.
Sometimes I forget this. I think I have to drum up solutions and resources from my own feeble reservoir and feel I am somehow outside the camp of God’s mighty army. Fatigue and despair can lead us to feel distant and outside of God’s outstretched arms. Failure and confusion keeps us from watching the battle plan unfold, and as I huddle in a bush for a moment of respite, I am tempted to doze off hoping it will all go away.
But, it doesn’t. I need a reminder to focus on a mighty God during the intensity of battle. Cowper says: “Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.” His hymn, God Moves in Mysterious Ways, penned in 1744, also encourages us to look behind a frowning providence to see His smiling face. The smoke of our troubles can hide the Lord who is reaching toward us for our deliverance.
My trials rage. Sometimes I think I can hear the blast of the cannon just before I am hit with another round of pain. I have to hold fast to the fact that He ever liveth to make intercession for me. I have to believe He is my advocate and will deliver. The hymn reminds me that “God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.” I am alone in my confusion but only because I relinquish my standing as His cherished child.
In our day of great technology, the temptation exists to forget the majesty and strength of our great Creator. He walks on the oceans and rides along the storms. As fascinating as it is to be able to read an electronic submission from any where in our world, our abilty to call upon the One who created all is much more magnificent. And, He hears. Cowper encourages us with this:
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
Enjoy this link and meditate on your position in the hands of a mighty God with strong out stretched arms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtnapVDuPfg
Photo Credit: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot, published on 21 December 2010
Stock Image – image ID: 10024983