This was the outlook on Monday morning this week, grey, cold, damp mist rolling in off the sea, with the sound of the foghorn in the distance – not the usual late spring sunshine that we had been getting so used to. We went out for a walk, but with our jackets back on as it was cold and wet, no inspiration from the sea views today! Or so I thought. By mid-morning, however, everything had changed, the mist had blown away to reveal the blue skies and sunshine that had been there all along, just hidden by the low cloud.
This reminded me of an old hymn –
God has not promised skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through. God has not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But God has promised strength for the day, Rest for the labour, light for the way, Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy, undying love. By Annie Johnson Flint.
I learnt this ‘poem’ as a child, which sounds very worthy, but I have a confession to make, I learnt it because I was ‘bored’ sitting in Chapel. We went to Chapel on a Sunday morning, in the days when children were expected to sit quietly through the service – Sunday School was at a separate time! And one Sunday the sermon seemed to be particularly long and difficult to understand, but my Mum had these two verses on a bookmark in her Bible, and so to entertain myself I started memorizing the words – in the same way I learnt the ‘shortest psalm’. I know, I was a strange child!
But that little ‘poem’ is powerful and has stayed with me through some of the darkest and most difficult times of my life. God has not promised that we will always see blue skies, but he has promised that He will provide the strength that we need, when we need it.
There are times when our problems seem too big, the weight of worry is too heavy, and it can feel as if our heart is breaking – emotions which can so easily overwhelm us. But it is at those times of unsettling fear, that God calls us to put our trust in Him, that He is our refuge and strength.
When doubt and fear close in, we may struggle to see and feel God’s presence, but it does not change the fact that He is there – God’s word declares that He is our ever-present help in times of trouble. In the same way that we know when the cloud rolls in, the blue sky is still always there even though it is obscured from our sight.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid.” Psalm 56:3-4
It is only in those fearful times that we learn, that with God, we need not fear.
It is only in those dark stormy times that we learn, that with God, we can find peace in the height of the storm.
It is only when the cloud closes in that we learn, that with God, there is always enough light for the next step.Tweet
As we move forward, with just enough light for that next step of faith, we learn to put our trust in God. In that place of trust, we find we need not be afraid, for with help from above, the cloud will roll away and the sun will shine again!
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