Thursday, July 18, 2013


Psalm 131 is an admonition to intellectual peacefulness, an encouragement to understand that paradox is one of the hallmarks of God’s nature and that mystery marks out the limits of our intellect. We do not need to understand all that God is doing in this world and the next. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God” (Deuteronomy 29:28).

But there is another side of David’s quietism: I do not need to understand all that God is doing in me.  

David draws a comparison between a weaned child that no longer frets for what it once demanded, and a soul that has learned the same lesson. It is a call to learn humility, patient endurance and contentment in all our circumstances—and calm acceptance. Divine wisdom and logic are beyond our ken.

We ask, Why this affliction, this disappointment, this delay? God answers, “Hush, child. You wouldn’t understand if I told it. Just trust me!”

So, I ask: Can I, despite my circumstances, ‘hope in the Lord’ (vs. 3).[1] Can I wait in patience without fretting and without questioning God’s love and wisdom? Can I trust him while he works in me his good, acceptable and perfect will?


[1] The Hebrew word for “hope” in this text (vs. 3), is a verb that stresses the concept of patient endurance rather than expectation.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Winter Years

“The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it will speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3)

The morning mist is cleared away,
Yet still the face of Heaven is grey,
Nor yet this autumnal breeze has stirred the grove,
Faded yet full, a paler green
Skirts soberly the tranquil scene,
The redbreast warbles round this leafy cove...[1]

—John Keble

Keble makes his way through a quiet grove. The morning mists have burned away, but the sky is leaden and gray. Autumnal trees with faded, withered leaves are ominous signs of cold and bitter winter.

Yet ‘midst these omens of impending gloom, Keble hears a robin warbling, “singing so thankful to the dreary blast, though gone and spent its joyous prime. And on the world's autumnal time, 
'mid withered hues and sere, its lot be cast.” The robin sings in the face of “calm decay” and a beclouded future, a thankful, cheerful disposition that reveals the heart of a true seer:

Watching...the appalling future as it nearer draws:
His spirit calmed the storm to meet,
Feeling the rock beneath his feet,
And tracing through the cloud th’ eternal Cause.
This is the heart for watchmen true,
Waiting to see what GOD will do.”

And so our thoughts rise to seek an answer for the questions of our winter years. Does loneliness, poverty, disability or dementia await us? If so, what will we do?

Heaven answers: “Be calm and cheerful in the present though the future is clouded and uncertain. Have this quiet assurance: Eternal Wisdom and Love is working for you; all that God does, if rightly understood, will bring about your final good. Wait to see what He will do.”


[1] You can find the poem at

Ferns Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the sh...