Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August Devotional ~Sorrows May be a Resurrection Spot for Your Soul

"In the place where He was crucified was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher."
John 19:3

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

The river of life flows ever swiftly,
Rushing to fill the great ocean beyond.
Never ceasing to slow its power,
Like life, it pours forth, on and on and on.

Why did you have to go, sweet love of mine?
Why did you have to be swept away?
I can no longer see you with my eyes,
I can no longer hear your gentle and kind ways.

Will your life continue to live on in my soul?
Will I remember your gleaming, blue eyes?
Oh, to have had more time; your hand to hold,
As I listen to the stories of your life.

Who can stop the power of the waters?
Who can hold back the overflowing stream?
My arms are empty at the banks of the river,
My heart’s overwhelmed, engulfed by grief.

Your life has been carried into the open sea,
Currents have taken you so far away;
But my love for you I cling to tightly,
Until that day, when nothing will separate.

Fountain of Life, restore and bring a renewing,
Memories of love lost, but never forgotten.
Your loving-kindness, like the sun, is shining,
Lighting up my shadowed heart as a beacon.

My Father’s Ashes Upon the River

Many of you, nay, most of you, know full well what it is to have a sepulcher in the garden of your lives. You know the shadow that it sheds over all the pleasant alleys and the bordered paths. You need not be told how it changes the place for you into something other than it was.
But there is another aspect. Not a spot in all the enclosure brought to Joseph of Arimathea so enduring joy as the very place he had builded for sorrow. And the sepulcher in your garden may do the same for you. It may be a resurrection spot for your soul.
Out of this sorrow which wraps you round, you may rise into a purer and serener day. The rolling a great stone to the door may mark the finishing and hiding away of one portion of your Christian life; and the rolling of that stone away on the third morning may be the commencement of a higher and more consecrated one.
And if this be the case, then the sepulcher spot in your days will be the most blessed of all. Its joy will reach farther, shine clearer, endure longer, than any belonging to the hours when your garden knew no tomb.
Sorrows are too precious to be wasted. That great man of God in a past generation, Alexander MacLaren of Manchester, used to bring out this overlooked truth. He reminded God's people that sorrows will, if we let them, "blow us to His breast, as a strong wind might sweep a man into some refuge from itself. I am sure there are many who can thankfully attest that they were brought nearer to God by some short, sharp sorrow than by long days of prosperity.”
Take care that you do not waste your sorrows; that you do not let the precious gifts of disappointment, pain, loss, loneliness, or similar afflictions that come into your daily life mar you instead of mending you. See that they send you nearer to God, and not that they drive you farther from Him.
There is no failure of life so terrible as to have the pain without the lesson, the sorrow without the softening.

When the human heart is full of cares and crushed almost to the earth by heavy sorrows; when every nerve and fiber groans with agony, there is no sweeter and surer relief than to fly to the sacred presence of Him who never fails to lift the load of sorrow from the suffering one. If the path of duty is lost to the tear-blinded eyes; if the wanderer is bewildered amid the shadows of the way, how oft has all been made plain by the sweet soul-communion with Jesus!
O, ye who are weak and heavy burdened; ye who are sick and wounded in life's great battle; ye who with bleeding feet are journeying up life's rocky steep, seek God's blessed Spirit, and He will bear the burden for you.

~This devotional is dedicated to my beloved father, Alan, who was a gardener, artist, loving father and friend to all who had the honor of his friendship.

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