these inward trials

posted in: Arbitrary Thoughts, Books, the Dahls | 0

Blogging has been a distant thought lately. We’re coming out of a couple month stretch of just plain hard. So now as I begin to see through the fog a bit and life returns with some semblance of normalcy, it seems once again like a nice idea. A nice idea – if only my thoughts weren’t so jumbled – from two months of crazy, from a winter of being just a little too lonely, from little people with big needs, and of course from the inevitable pregnancy brain which has me putting milk away in the cupboards. One day I hope these thoughts will trickle into words, but lately I’ve been relying on the words of Scripture and the words of others to bring clarity and hope.

I finally finished Knowing God by J.I. Packer. It took months, but it was well worth it. Packer is brilliant, his love for the Lord oozes onto the pages and his immense wisdom makes me wish he would come to our house for dinner and just tell us more. But besides an admiration for the author, this book has deepened my affection for the glorious God I serve, and has made me hungry to know Him more and more.

Everyone should read this book. Just saying.

Anyway. What I really got on here to do was share these words from a hymn written by John Newton, from one of my favorite chapters (I had several). I still can’t quite read them without tears burning hot. It’s a reality I know well and yet still need to be taught, over and over again. Packer writes, “God wants us to feel that our way through life is rough and perplexing, so that we may learn thankfully to lean on him.”

Rough and perplexing? This I know.
Oh that I might learn thankfully to lean on Him.

I asked the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

I hoped that in some favoured hour
At once He’d answer my request,
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

“Lord, why is this?” I trembling cried,
“Wilt thou pursue Thy worm to death?”
“‘Tis in this way,” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.

“These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st seek thy all in me.”