Life is going to bring disappointment your way. I’m not a prophet, it is the common human experience. My Dad used to repeat these lines when he was struggling with things that made him sad: “Into each life some rain must fall. Some days must be dark and dreary.” I don’t know if Dad knew they were part of a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining.
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.
Thy fate is the common fate of all.
Into each life some rain must fall.
Some days must be dark and dreary.
The poet was no stranger to sorrow. His father, mother and brother all died within a two-year span. His first wife died after a miscarriage and his second wife died tragically in a fire. His son was badly wounded at Gettysburg. Longfellow though broken at times by depression, remained sentimental and hopeful, and was popular in America in the mid -19th century.
Evidence of his hope is written into the poem sung as the Christmas Carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” – “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.” He wrote those word at the height of the Civil War, with death and violence filling the nation.
What choice will YOU make when the rain starts to fall?
Will you become a cynic like Solomon protesting the supposed emptiness of life? In his old age, after a life filled with wealth, fame, power, and pleasure, Solomon complained bitterly that all is vanity. “Smoke, nothing but smoke. There’s nothing to anything—it’s all smoke. What’s there to show for a lifetime of work, a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone? One generation goes its way, the next one arrives, but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old planet earth. The sun comes up and the sun goes down, then does it again, and again—the same old round.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-5, The Message) What a sad conclusion that closes the door to opportunity.
Will you let the battering break your pride and carry you to an total dependence on the love of our Father? Paul, once a proud, self-sufficient Pharisee, came to Christ to find a life of rejection, persecution, shipwreck, and imprisonment! He realized that suffering allowed him to be identified with his Savior. He rejoiced in it as his pride crumbled and the Lord became his treasure and hope.
From is experience he teaches us not “be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:13-20, NIV) What a stark contrast to the bitterness of Solomon.
Here in 2020, we are all, in one way or another, making our way through uncertainty, hard times, and perhaps even sickness. Our lives have been turned inside out by limits placed on us, fairly or unfairly, who knows? Businesses, thriving just months ago, are near wreckage now. Emotions are raw. Optimism is a like a rare and precious gem.
We have God and His promises to care for us, keep us, and lead us life eternal. So, we say, with Paul, ‘when I am weak, then I am strong.’ If we are willing to rest in Him, we need not become bitter complaining to God and everyone else who might listen about the ‘unfairness’ of it all. It is a temptation, however, isn’t it?
Job is a model for those who are dealing with disappointment. He struggled to understand his life AND kept talking to God! And, in the end, though the Lord never explained what He had allowed, He revealed His majesty and Job was both humbled and comforted.
“Without humility there can be no true abiding in God’s presence or experience of His favor and the power of His Spirit. Without it there can be no abiding faith or love or joy or strength.” (Andrew Murray)
Christian friend, come often to the throne of God. Hide your life in Christ through faith. Silence the rebel heart and submit to Him, listening, waiting, hoping. There is great grace to be found.
Here is the word from the Word.
“He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires.
As the Scriptures say, “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6, NLT)
“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2, NLT)
“But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12, NLT)
Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
This song was the anthem that sustained Bev and I as she was dying.
It is a powerful declaration of faith.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep my faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sov’reign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine
Joel Houston | Matt Crocker | Salomon Ligthelm|© 2012 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055