Saturday, March 28, 2009

What God Has Promised

During some of our darkest hours it’s easy to feel like everyone has abandoned us, even God. You’ve heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Well, I find it to be more like “When the going gets tough, the friends and allies get going.” That probably isn’t always the case, but Satan loves to put those thoughts in our hearts and minds and loves it even more when we believe him. While stumbling through my last bout of depression the Lord reminded me of one of my favorite poems. I remember receiving a copy of it at church when I was about ten years old and have carried it in my Bible since then. I have several different versions of the Bible and had not seen, read or thought about the poem in many years. I guess that was a God thing . . . putting it on my heart. I thought I remembered which Bible the card was in, so I pulled the Bible I carried in High School out of the drawer and sure enough there it was. I read the poem and reread it again and was truly blessed by the words. It was written by Annie Johnson Flint. I’d never really heard or read anything about her, but now with easy access to the Internet I thought I’d look her up to see what I could find. According to the web pages I found about her, she was born in 1866 in New Jersey. Her mother died following the birth of her younger sister. Her dad sent the two girls to live with a widow, but it was not a happy arrangement. The two girls were not wanted in the home and it was apparent. Later another family, the Flints, adopted Annie and her sister about two years after the death of their mother. Their father agreed to the adoption as he was in failing health and soon also passed away. We would hope for a “happily ever after” ending, but it was not to be. Annie and her sister had a very stable and enjoyable childhood, but in Annie’s early adult life arthritis appeared. Eventually she became an invalid, dependent on others to survive. During this time in her life is when she penned “What God Hath Promised.” She knew all too well, that yes, God could heal her and any of us from our pain and afflictions, but more often He has other plans, to use us for his glory and honor but He promises "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor 12:9 NIV
As you read the poem you can feel the anguish, but also comfort in God’s promises.

What God Has Promised

God hath not promised Skies always blue Flower-strewn pathways All our lives through.
God hath not promised Sun without rain
Joy without sorrow Peace without pain.

God hath not promised We shall not know Toil and temptation, Trouble and woe; He hath not told us We shall not bear Many a burden Many a care.

God hath not promised Smooth roads and wide, Swift, easy travel, Needing no guide; Never a mountain, Rocky and steep, Never a river Turbid and deep:

But God hath promised
Strength for the day, Rest for the labor, Light for the way;
Grace for the trials,
Help from above, Unfailing sympathy, Undying love.
by Annie Johnson Flint

So in reflection, we are assured in God’s Word of many promises. Here are a few to bring us comfort during dark and stormy times:

Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, Ps: 14-15 NIV

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; Isa 43:5 NIV

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deut 31:8 NIV

For the Lord your God is merciful-he will not abandon you nor destroy you nor forget the promises he has made to your ancestors. Deut 4:31 TLB

If you want to read more about the life and poetry of Annie Flint Johnson here.

Be blessed and assured that God is big enough and cares enough to handle all your problems. After all that’s a promise!


Thare said...

I love that. I have heard that poem some where before...but now I understand it. I completely understand the feeling of being alone...and you are right about the thoughts are from Satan. I hope you know how much I love you and care for you. I know that I call a few people my sister but you are truly my sister. I CAN NOT imagine my life without you. I love talking with you, being around you, learning from you, being inspired by you, learning about our Lord from you, and...learning about being a better person. You are amazing woman. I know for a fact you are a wonderful daughter to our Father & your folks, a loving wife, a great sister, and the BEST aunt! I love you. Thank you fro the post...I need it...and I know many others did too!

Jen said...

Linda, what perfect timing. The Lord is certainly using you to minister to me. I had a bad night with strange pains in my head. MY brain of course was racing with terrible thoughts of strokes etc and I was really afraid. And angry with God, I know we can heal me so what is wrong with me that he won't. And now, I came back to Busselton to be with friends but I feel friendless. I know that is not true they are all just exceptionally busy with their own lives right now. So your words and the Scriptures you posted are just what I needed right now.
Thank you