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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thoughts from Hymns - By Thy Grace We Will

 

Hebrews 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

By Thy grace we will!

This is a line from an old hymn that stuck in my head some time back and this past year I’ve thought about it quite frequently.  In fact, you might say that it has become a life “motto” of sorts, though I don’t think about it as often as I’d like to.

We had a very busy year in 2013 from my perspective.  There were also some very large challenges.  More than once the Lord reminded me to cast myself upon His grace and go forward.  I knew these were things that were unavoidable or that were clearly His will, so me desire was to rest in His grace to get me through them.  He never let me down!

In January last year my mom had a hip replacement.  This was the first major surgery that anyone in my immediate family had had, so it was rather much of a hurdle for us.  February was focused a lot on helping her recover from that.

In March we began preparing for company and in April my sister and her husband and children paid us a two week visit.  It was a great blessing, but we were sick while they were here.

My in-laws came at the end of May for a few days and in June we had a friend get married, which meant sewing projects and helping out a little with the wedding.

I kept thinking, “After ___________, we’ll be able to rest.”  It didn’t happen – for a long time.

No sooner did I think we were in for a break in July than my husband and I and my parents began to plan a trip to Australia to visit my brother and his family.  This was not a small undertaking and there was a string of different things to do for weeks ahead of time – visas, tickets, special food needs, locating special items for specific needs, making some new clothes, packing, TSA rules, what we could take through customs, etc.  But, the biggest thing for me in some ways was that long overseas flight.  I had not flown since I was six.  I get motion sick fairly easily and I have claustrophobia, fear of heights, and difficulty being in crowds – besides regular anxiety issues.  Well, we knew it was going to be a big challenge, and it was!  The flights were grueling on several levels.  (I think the motion sickness was probably the worst part.)

Added to all this was the fact that I had to get bifocals for the first time just before we left (they made me dizzy for awhile), and I had to have last minute dental work done with the possibility of needing emergency help while in Australia.  Thankfully, the Lord spared me that!

While we were over there we stayed with my brother’s family for 3 1/2 weeks and had a great visit and made some good memories, but 8 people in a smallish house was a bit of a stretch at times.  :-)  Riding and having my husband drive on the “wrong side of the road” was also more nerve-wracking than I at first thought.  Plus, the Pacific flight getting there was such a trial, I dreaded the homeward flight often during our visit – especially when jets flew over the house!  Thank the Lord, the homeward flight was much easier in some ways, but it was more emotional in others.

We got home on October 8th and it took a bit for my parents and me to get back onto Texas time and recover from the trip.  In November, I started making plans for Thanksgiving when my in-laws were supposed to visit again.  I was really looking forward to having them here for that, but the Lord overruled and my husband and I were both sick, so they didn’t come and we spent the holiday resting.

Things calmed down some in December, especially since we are outside of the busy Christmas loop, and we were able to have some quieter time.  I did a lot of reading and research and the colder weather this winter gave a good excuse to stay inside more.  It was very refreshing, and I’m so thankful that the Lord granted my desire for some rest!

Of course, all of this was added to the usual challenges of life that are relatively normal and to be expected, and to the usual duties and activities that we dread or enjoy, and to the burdens and prayer requests for friends and family.

I feel incredibly blessed.  By God’s grace we DID get through a lot – some major challenges included!  It was especially uplifting to face a huge-to-me challenge like flying to Australia and to come through so well – by God’s grace!  (Yes, I did use medication and herbal remedies to help, but I consider that part of the provision from the Lord.)

I want to remember this all.  I want to remember that God did give “grace to help in time of need” – over and over and over again – through big challenges and little ones, through the monotonous things and the hair-raising things, for my own burdens and for the burdens of others.  Because, you see, it is the memories of these great blessings that give “bright hope for the future”!  I don’t even know how many times in a challenging situation the Lord reminded me of His grace, and I told Him in my heart, “By Thy grace we will.”  It really became a prayer, and He answered it exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think (Eph. 3:20). 

There is an acknowledgement in that thought also, and that is that if it is not God’s will and within His grace for us to do a thing then we won’t do it; because it is only by His grace that we can.  This was something I had in the back of my mind as well.  Whatever He allows or wills us to face or endure or deal with in life – He WILL give the grace to get through it.

Here is rest.  Here is peace.  Here is confidence for the future.  We don’t have to live in fear of what “might” happen this year.  We don’t have to dread potential challenges or trials.  By God’s grace, we will get through whatever He allows.  And faith is rest – rest in knowing that whatever the future holds, God’s grace is greater.

So, we can face the future with this courage-giving thought – “By Thy grace we will!”

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Thomas O. Chisholm

2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

1 Peter 5:10-11  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. When we do look back over the year it becomes quite clear that we have been busy and have faced a number of challenges and got through them in one piece.

    My biggest challenge has already happened (1st January) and from this point I think I can handle almost anything thrown at me (not that I want anything like that again). But it also taught me a very valuable lesson, when leaning on the Lord, all things are possible and I do have the strength to get through the very tough.

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    1. I'm sorry that you had such a huge challenge to start off the new year, but so glad you learned such a valuable lesson in the Lord! May God bless you with peace and comfort and strength as you go on.

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