Monday, August 4, 2008

a dry time

On July 24, 2008 Steve Godbold was freed after over nine months of being hostage to a rebel group in the Tibesti region of northern Chad. The same week a friend with metasticized cancer received the "all clear" from her doctor. The tumor is dead.

What marvelous answers to prayer--both miracles--in so short a time.

But my eyes have not been upwards as they should. I have been in a desert. "A dry and thirsty land where there is no water," as my version of Psalm 61 reads--hyperbole sometimes makes me feel better.

Sunday we had no service in the fellowship. We are looking for a neutral venue. God is working in us and has plans for our growth, spiritual not numerical. Things take time, especially in Africa. God isn't in a hurry anywhere on this planet. (Ask Steve about 9 months in his Chadian desert.)

So when I was singing through some old hymns on Sunday, this one touched my heart. I feel kind of sorry for my kids and their generation which knows so few of those ancient, strong, pain-begotten hymns. Hear the longing in the words of this:

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand--
The shadow of a mighty Rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat and the burden of the day.

Upon the cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess--
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O Cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face.
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the Cross.

--Elizabeth C. Clephane

This mosaic is in the convent of San Marcos in Florence where Savonarola lived and served.
Click on the picture if you want to see a beautiful large version of it.

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