Vale of Tears

Yielded Hearts and Altered Perspectives



Yielded Hearts and Altered Perspectives

All the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God.
How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 139:16-17

The premise I am following throughout this publication is that the more willing we are to face our grief, the easier it is for the Lord to turn things that have been bringing us distress into blessings – although it is often only when we are further along our pilgrimage and with hindsight that we can see fully appreciate this.

When she was a young girl, Amy Carmichael used to look into the mirror and pray that the Lord would change her brown eyes into sparkling blue ones. She was very upset when this did not happen – but many years later she was grateful that she had brown eyes, because they made it so much easier for her to integrate into the Indian culture.

After completing his medical training, Dennis Burkitt found himself unable to obtain a surgical post in the UK because of the result of an injury, which had left him with only one eye. After all, who would want to employ a one-eyed surgeon? Far from allowing this disappointment to crush him, he followed the Lord’s leading and went to Africa, where he became famous for describing what became known as Burkitt’s lymphoma (the most common cancer amongst children in sub-Saharan Africa), and for discovering the importance of fibre in our diet.

The example of this outstanding surgeon and missionary doctor reminds us of God’s challenge to Moses to understand how sovereign He is over all our affairs.

Who makes a person’s mouth?
Who decides whether people speak or do not speak,
hear or do not hear, see or do not see?
Is it not I, the Lord?
Now go! I will be with you as you speak,
and I will instruct you in what to say. Exodus 4:11-12

Depending on how secure we are as people, how far advanced we are along the path towards grief resolution, and perhaps also on how confident we are in God’s sovereignty over the situations we find ourselves in, we are likely to respond in very different ways when major difficulties come our way.

Some of us find it relatively easy to praise and trust; others of us are more inclined to adopt a catastrophic view of things and to complain loudly! “Lord, I couldn’t possibly do that,” we protest – although our arguments usually fail to impress anyone except ourselves. Even Moses only got so far when he pleaded with the Lord to send someone else!22

It is profoundly reassuring to remember that the Lord knows all about our physical, spiritual and emotional limitations. So far from putting Him off, He almost seems to prefer doing His greatest work despite our weakness. Mercifully, He takes our doubts and detours into account, and starts in enough time to get us to His intended destination.

Reflect and Pray

When the angel brought Mary the amazing news that she was going to be with child, despite being a virgin, her initial reaction was very much what yours or mine would have been: “How can this be?” (Luke 1:34). Are you facing one of those “how can this be happening” moments? If so, we can do no better than to respond as Mary did: “Let it be to me according to Your Word. Nothing is impossible to You!”

Father, the more I yield to Your call,
and accept that You have made me the way that I am,
the better I will cope –
and the more glory You will have.

Come, Holy Spirit,
lover of my soul,
lead me by Your Spirit,
and work in me
that which is well pleasing in Your sight.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.