April 12 and there was a shocking setback, a personal hit . No need to go into details; but there it was. It hurt and it was hard. But God.
That's one of my favourite phrases in Scripture. BUT GOD ....
Because part of my daily devotional time includes reading the day's thoughts from a little Dohnavur book - a collection of writings (notes, letters, thoughts) from Amy Carmichael, entitled "Edges of His Ways."
In the front, my handwriting boldly proclaims
Penelope J Walter. Cambridge. April 1975
I have been reading it on and off ever since then. Sometimes in the mornings, sometimes in the evenings. This past Friday, I read it in the evening. And read it again. And again.
I had had a shock; but God knew what I needed.
Here's what it said:
April 12 2 Cor. 11:28 RV margin: Things that come out of course.
Sometimes things seem to happen contrariwise, on purpose. We are prepared for the usual trials of life, but these are not usual. They are things that come 'out of course,' and they are the most difficult of all to meet peacefully and to pass through peacefully. They are most upsetting things, as we sometimes call them, and they often continue to try to upset us.
It is very humbling to go through the list of ordinary things, as apparently they were regarded by the first missionaries - labours, prisons, stripes, stonings, shipwrecks, perils, travails, - and then stop and consider these added words, "beside the things that come out of course." What were they? We do not know, but judging by the things which were not counted as 'out of course,' they must have been a good deal harder than anything that comes our way.
Is there anything that you do not like and did not expect in your to-day? If so, perhaps these words will help you to meet it with serenity.
So I went to sleep pondering those words.
And woke early to reach out and read them again. But by then it was Saturday and I needed new grace. For Saturday was April 13 - the anniversary of my dear mother-in-law's death and my husband was feeling it right hard through the tears.
I read from Amy Carmichael to him.
APRIL 13 1 Kings 8:56 There hath not failed one word of all His good promise.
I have found in times of disappointment of any kind there is great help in these words. .....One of His good promises is, "Whatsoever is right I will give you." (Matt 20:4) ..... Another is this: "The Lord will not withhold good things from them that walk in innocence." (Psalm 84:11 LXX) "No good thing will He withhold " so that the thing not given could not have been good for us. He knows what is good.
It is just here that faith is tested sometimes very sharpely, and we begin perhaps to distress ourselves over the condition attached to the promise. Is it because of something in me tht this good thing - as I believe it to be - is not given? God, who searcheth the hearts, alone knows our need of the cleansing Blood for motive in prayer, but if by His enabling we will to desire His will, then we may leave all torturing thoughts and rest our hearts on Him. No good thing will He withhold - There hath not failed - nor ever can fail - one word of all His good promise.
We prayed for His good and perfect will. We gave thanks for dear Granny Nancy and all she had meant to our family - and recalled the chain of events her death had started, which caused us to leave the USA , move to London and now on to Mays Farm, our new home.
No good thing will He withhold ... there hath not failed one word of His promise ...
Amazing grace, because all is gift, even if and when we don't deserve it. His promise will not fail; HE will not fail.
The blessings kept coming, all day, in and through the hurt and the pain.
Someone wrote on Facebook: When you are going through something hard and you wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test.
Testing times for me; maybe for you too this week? But God .. ?