Nothing had went well. The dreary weather matched my mood. None of the projects I started today were close to being finished. Unwashed dishes sat on the counter, unfolded laundry stood in the corner, while unfinished school work was strewn on the table. I wasn't sure how I was going to survive the bickering children until bedtime, especially when my husband called to say that he would be home late yet again.
I happened to catch sight of a verse a poem and stopped to read it.
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
Hmmm...so according to this poem, it is days like this that God gives more grace. I like the idea of getting more grace but not if it means greater burdens, increased labor, added afflictions, and multiplied trials. But is it true that His “strength is made perfect in weakness?” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I read on.
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.
I thought of a friend who had been in the hospital with her young daughter. Medication was not controlling her daughter's seizures. Doctors and their medications were failing. Was it true that when we are at the end of our resources that our Father's assets are just beginning?
Or what about my friend whose twin sons were still in the hospital weeks after their birth? Each day seemed to bring another report of a medical complication. Could their family endure another day, week, month of this hospital life?
I thought of another friend, the mother of a handicapped child. I try to care and sympathize, but I can't imagine her sleepless nights and the physical weariness that have plagued her every day for the last thirteen years. I wish I could help carry her load, but how can I help?
But the poem had more.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
Another friend came to mind. She is my age, not yet forty, with seven small children to keep her days busy. But many days her movements are limited by the pain of arthritis that clenches her limbs. I know that she leans hard on His arms, trusting that He will carry both her and her load.
Out of curiosity, I looked for some information on the author of this poem, Annie Johnson Flint. What life experiences led her to write these words of encouragement? Did she know about great needs that can be filled only with God's resources?
Annie was three year old when she lost her mother and soon after, her father also died. Annie taught school but in her second year, she was afflicted with arthritis. Within a few years, she could hardly walk and Annie was forced to give up teaching. Not long after, Annie's adopted parents died. She and her sister were left alone with almost no money.
Annie used her long days of suffering to encourage others by writing poetry and sharing it through hand-lettered cards, gift books, and letters. Many were blessed through the ministry of her painfully twisted fingers though often it was wondered how she could write with such refreshing humor and joy while experiencing her own great trials. Annie was convinced that God had a purpose in her life and that He would glorify Himself through her frailty.
Annie ends her poem with...
His love has no limits, 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.
I look around again at my unfinished housework and whiny children and realize that I have a choice. I can be miserable, and make others around me miserable. Or I can choose, like Annie, to accept the limitless grace of my Lord.
The choice seems obvious.