"In the Hands that Were Wounded for You"
I took this photo during 2014 in Oxford while our family stayed a week there at Keble College (what a thrilling time that was!). This chapel inside the college was so, so beautiful and filled with such peace. It filled my heart with awe! I couldn't help looking up at that cross, with the beautiful stained glass images behind, and thinking of the truth of this Symbol - both of Shame and Glory, Suffering and Resurrection; the focal point of all history and life. How truly is the Cross of Jesus Christ the only hope for humanity!
Last week, I happened upon some Goodreads quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer; among the many moving, stirring and challenging snippets I read, I found myself reading this beautiful prayer Bonhoeffer wrote while in prison in Germany.
“In me there is darkness,
But with You there is light;
I am lonely, but You do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with You there is help;
I am restless, but with You there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with You there is patience;
I do not understand Your ways,
But You know the way for me.”
"Lord Jesus Christ,
You were poor
And in distress, a captive and forsaken as I am.
You know all man's troubles;
You abide with me
When all men fail me;
It is Your will that I should know You
And turn to You.
Lord, I hear Your call and follow;
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
The Lord knew that I needed to read it, and used it to encourage my heart that week in a wonderful, comforting way. The realisation that though I might be in darkness, lonely, restless, bitter, feeble of heart and do not always understand God's ways, the Lord is my constant Light, He will never leave me and will always help me and give me His peace. That just encouraged me so much.
As I start the new school-year, I can easily find myself faced with worries and anxieties, and it can be difficult, at times, to just trust the Lord that He will hold my hand and guide me step by step through the drudgery, stress and deadlines of studying; also with the struggles, trials and toils I see around me with friends and family and loved ones. Sometimes it is hard to reconcile peace and joy with the trials and cares of day to day life. Where is the answer? How can we have hope and joy - yes, joy! - in a dark, sin-sick and painful world, where God's people are constantly under attack and suffering. The answer is perhaps best found in our Lord Himself. He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs. He suffered the scorn and mockery of men, was stricken down and afflicted. And yet as He learnt obedience by the things He suffered, He prayed, "Father, glorify Your name!"
It can be really hard to understand all the strugglings and hurts of life, but when I remember that my Lord Jesus bled and died for me. . . His sufferings were for my comfort and healing, His grief was for my joy and peace, my heart is filled with awe and wonder and praise. I can trust Jesus with my future and life. I can and should and want to surrender my whole life to Him. Every bit and particle, every dream and hope, every sorrow and disappointment. He knows and loves me. . .
He loves you too!