Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Songs in the Night Job 35:10

During the time when the pain wins, and rules the night hours, time actually stretches.  One puny minute contains enough time for endless agony - and in the dark of night, everything is endless.

Tonight is such a night.  Pain stalks my movements, my thoughts.  And no, it is not agony enough to send me to the hospital - but neither is it mild enough to be ignored or lulled and dulled into submission by even the strongest of medications.  It is a night to endure.

At times like these, I seek solace for my soul. Sometimes in the Word, spending time with Job and David.
Sometimes it is with song lyrics that comfort and strengthen.  Sometimes it is songs that He has given me, and sometimes it is in the songs He has given others.

One of my favorite wordsmiths is Annie Johnson Flint. She is someone I look forward to meeting.  Annie lived in the late 19th-early 20th century.  A woman who loved children and teaching, by the age of 21 she was so crippled by arthritis that she spent the next 50+ years in a wheelchair.  Not the cushy ones of today, mind you, but the hard-seated clumsy contraptions of her era.

While Annie's body was so confined, her spirit could never be shackled.  What she called her "little poems" brought hope and cheer to thousands of people, a fact which never ceased to amaze her.  She did what she could, and offered it to the One Who breaks the bread and feeds thousands with it. And He did.

Well, tonight she fed me.

Here are 3 of her poems that nestled me into His arms, and poured sweet music into my soul:

He Giveth More
James 4:6 "He giveth more grace"
Isa 40:20 "He increaseth strength"
Jude 2  "mercy unto you, and grace, and love, be multiplied."

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

Songs in the Night   Job 3510

We make our songs in the day of our gladness,
When life is all laughter and joy and delight,
When never a shadow has clouded our sunshine;
But God giveth songs in the night.

He giveth songs in the night of our sorrow,
When tears are our drink and when grief is our meat,
When we silence our weeping and still our repining
To list to those cadences sweet,

He giveth songs in the night of affliction
When earth has no sun and the heavens no star;
Like a comforting touch in the desolate darkness
His voice stealeth in from afar.

He giveth songs - and His music is sweeter
Than of earth's greatest voices and gladdest refrains;
Our loveliest melodies shade to the minor,
But His keep their full major strains.

He giveth songs when our music is over -
When our voices falter and our tongues are mute;
When trembling hands drop from the lute and the harp strings
And hushed are the viol and flute

Give us Thy songs, O Thou Maker of music!
Teach us to sing, O Thou Bringer of joy!
Till nothing can silence the notes of our triumphs
And naught our rejoicing destroy.

Hold Thou My Hand

Hold Thou my hand, O Lord, nor loose Thy clasp
Though weaker, weaker, grows my feeble grasp;
Though courage fail me and my faith is small,
Be Thou my strength, my hope, my faith, my all -
                              Hold Thou my hand!

Hold Thou my hand, O Lord, nor heed my tears,
When torn by torturing doubts, beset by fears,
I murmur that I cannot walk with Thee,
I cannot drink the cup poured out for me;
                              Still hold my hand!

Hold Thou my hand, O Lord; no light o'er head
Shows me the path my faltering feet must tread;
To what far depths of darkness and of woe
Might I not fall if Thou shouldst let me go?
                              Lord, hold my hand!

Hold Thou my hand; let me not feel alone;
Through stress and trial safely bring Thine own;
Oh, let Thy sure, unchanging clasp impart
Unwavering trust unto my fainting heart;
                                 Hold Thou my hand!

Hold Thou my hand; that tireless sleep means strength,
Patience, and peace, and blessing, till at length
My storm-tossed soul can calmly take its way,
And need no longer in such anguish pray,
                               "Lord, hold my hand!"


In my times of sleeplessness, of aching body and head, longing for the freedom and perfection of our resurrection body -right now, please! - I read the words of a woman who suffered more than I could dream of .  And the peace she found, the solace in His presence that is a gift in itself, communicates itself to me and soothes the troubled surface of my soul, quieting the rippling turmoil as I wait for the endless pain to ease enough for sleep.  In her words I see a familiar face - the Face of the One Who sings songs in the night and holds his aching children in Everlasting Arms, enfolding us in His love.

Thank you, Miss Annie, for keeping me company tonight.

And thank You, My Lord, for bringing the words of Your servant into my life and heart - for such a night as this..

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