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Poems Drawn from Suffering
Before My Poems, Thinking About the Valley of Suffering
Reading the poetry of Psalms in the context of the entire Word of God is one of a distressed Believer’s great comforts. It is a balm for the wounds incurred on this journey through the wildernesses of life on earth.
For all of our joys here, there are sorrows to be dealt with, and at times, plenty of them. How easy it is to forget that it is imperative to trust our Father's way and timing for answers to prayer when we are hurting!
Though we may feel near despair when we are burdened with pain or alarm, we can confidently ask Him for help. We can lay it all at His feet and kneel at His seat of mercy with the simple faith of a young child.
Whether we are weathering a storm because of failure on our own part or spurious attacks from others, because of deep concern for someone we love dearly or for inexplicable reasons that we cannot understand, turning to God according to His Word gives us confident hope.
If we will go down before Him, the gifts He will give along with His help are beyond what we can imagine. Though the journey is different for each of us, until we've been in the valley of suffering and experienced His promised help we do not glimpse the true depths of His grace.
Examples We can Follow
I often think of Hannah as I pray about my own sorrows. Her example of perseverance that sustained her with hope until she saw God work through her prayers continues to be inspiring. To say that I am thankful for examples like this from His Word is to put a great thing very simply.
In hindsight I can see a number of times that I have prayed and then rejoiced to see God work. Other times, I prayed and waited and did not see His hand intervene, only to find out at a much later date that He was at work to answer my prayer but not in a way I could see at the time.
More contemporary Believers have encouraged me as I’ve gone through a valley that seems to have pitfalls and precipices at every changeful midnight. This sample from Amy Carmichael’s Mountain Breezes has been a tremendous blessing:
On earth, confusion, land by land;
And heart by heart is riven.
But, as of old, unshaken stand
The battlements of heaven.
On wings of wind, from all their coasts,
Angelic armies speed;
The Lamb of God, the Lord of Hosts,
That shining band doth lead.
O cause our stumbling prayer to soar;
Let joy be our array;
For art not Thou whom we adore
Already on Thy way?
Scripture is full of examples of suffering, but more than that, it is filled with examples of God’s faithfulness that display His long-suffering love. Even when His people flew in His face with their rebellion and brought troubles on themselves, His hand of mercy was at work as He fulfilled His purposes.
We Are Not Alone
God knows how fragile we are so He gives us many encouraging examples of His faithfulness in His Word. He knows how limited we are so He gives us examples of His knowledge.
He knows how weak we are so He gives us examples of His omnipotence. Because He knows what we are up against, He comforts with His presence.
It is an error to believe that the life of a Christian will be or should be easy. Not only is the path narrow, but it is likely to have some fairly rough spots along the way.
The causes can be distinctly individual, though there are corporate reasons that God’s people go through stormy seasons. So, to speak of reasons does not necessarily mean that blame is being placed on a sufferer.
Few there are who do not go through deep waters, through any number of sufferings that would overwhelm if God did not provide aid. Christians are not immune, and may even find that in their efforts to help others their own burdens can multiply for a period of time.
Needy Hearts and Minds...
In long seasons of suffering it is especially important to remember that He does not leave us alone. No matter the burden, no matter the reason for the suffering--even if we are completely at fault--He wants us to turn to Him according to His Word.
Not only can we know that we are accepted by God in the Beloved, we can enjoy a growing relationship with Him in this life and have His help for the circumstances we face. As Hannah shows us, it does not matter what others think about our problem.
God knows, and yet He wants us to share every aspect of our heart about it with Him. He desires so much for us to talk with Him about our burdens that He has made the way and given us instruction.
What He says about prayer to Christians is phrased as a command, but it is teaching given from His heart as a gift to us. It is an invitation as well as direction.
Writing about what I’ve learned through the valley of suffering is difficult. I do not know if I will be able to write about the specific circumstances when they are resolved--perhaps more poetry will come.
I do know, though, that day by day in the midst of life’s storms God’s grace is everything He says it is and He enables His people to trust Him to provide through the layers of our troubles if we will look to Him for help according to his Word.
Two New Poems
I See You Moon, I Thank You God
In night’s purple sky, I see you moon,
To how many broken hearts have you been attuned?
Were you placed just to encourage and to comfort,
Or to remind us that we do not see what is important?
Hello moon, shining over my land,
You and I, formed and created by the same Hand.
I’ve sought you in the night, seeking out your white smile,
To drink from, to engage in the strength of your years and long miles.
I see you moon, with God’s light renewed,
Strengthening me for waiting through the gloomy dew
That lurks ‘neath my lashes, threat’ning to overflow,
And strike yet again with memory’s unceasingly painful blows.
Thank You God for faith to persevere,
Obeying by prayer with confidence through long years.
Thank You, Father, for moon and stars and sun and rain,
For all You’ve given to sustain as I look for more promised gain.
Thank You for wise counsel from Your Word,
Buoying, helping me to go forward undeterred.
Seeing faithfulness in the moon month after month,
I regard Your handiwork throughout the ages labyrinth.
I see you moon. I thank You, God.
Because I’ve learned to live with pain,
You think my tears have ceased to rain?
Think you the ache gave up its claim?
Believe the weapons lost their aim?
Suspect you not my heart is lame,
As I can’t speak the depth of pain?
There is One Friend who knows my frame,
I live dependent on His Name.
He doubtless understands the flame,
How ashes turned to so much fame!
Only He comprehends the span,
From now to when the grief began.
O blessed thought, He yet retains,
Holds it all by His golden chain.
By my side He ever remains,
In the sorrow He gives me gain.
With the suffering, a sweet refrain--
Flowing grace of Love’s bloodstain.
Promise sure is faith’s foundation,
His Word is secure persuasion.
His faithfulness and assured aid
Increase my trust of Strength unswayed.
Under His wings I find sweet shade,
From The Loving Heart help cascades,
Even when my vision betrays,
Assistance comes in cavalcades.
On His heart my need’s engraved,
On His Word I lean--settled, stayed.
All but faith is faulty charade,
His best will never be delayed.
Helpful Books for Sufferers:
The following books have been an immense help to me. They are in alphabetical order by the authors' last names simply because I have no better order to put them in.
Any one of these works would be helpful to a suffering Believer. Together they have encouraged me through deep waters and I am grateful that these authors have shared with us what God gave them.