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Listen while you read: "What A Friend We Have In Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (NKJV)
It seems that from a young age until death, life is not very peaceful. We are continually being either pushed or pulled, sometimes by others and sometimes by our own desires.
I was reminded of this recently when I listened to a number of young students being interviewed. They were about to enter or return to school, and their expectations were quite different, although somewhat predictable.
Most were excited to see their friends and meet other new friends, but at the same time, they expressed nervousness. I felt particular sorrow for one young boy who said that he hated school and didn't want to go. Clearly, he was being pushed by parents and the requirement to attend, but not being pulled by a positive desire.
One young boy said that he was really excited about returning. When asked about his favourite subject, he quickly responded, "Recess". In his mind, he had his priorities straight.
Had I been asked that question, I probably would have replied "Arithmetic" but certainly not "Art". If I had received a "C" in Art, that would have been a big achievement, since it was better than my normal "D"!
As I pondered the reactions from these young students, I thought about how the pushes and pulls continue throughout life. I realize that what is important is not the stresses that we face, but how we react to those stresses.
We can be driven to the kind of action that is not always best, or we can seek to honour the One who can give us peace in all that we choose to do.
One of the poems that I have enjoyed over the years is entitled "The Pulley" and was written by George Herbert (1593-1633).
- When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
"Let us," said he, "pour on him all we can.
Let the world's riches, which dispersèd lie,
Contract into a span."
So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.
"For if I should," said he,
"Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be.
"Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast."
God has created us to seek Him and not to be pushed or pulled without meaning. He has shown us the way to reach Him through Jesus.
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (NKJV)
Prayer: Dear God, help us to realize that the stresses in life are normal, and give us the strength to react positively. May we seek You through the gift of Your Son, Jesus. Give us the peace that we can find in You and in You alone. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
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Thanks for sharing a great message, Vincent.
That’s a big amen.
Thank you, Vincent, for sharing this uplifting devotional with us. Blessings.
Grateful for this strong example of your faithfulness today, Vincent. Very helpful.
You’ve given me something to ponder with this poem. My mind goes to Sabbath rest. Thank you for your writings. I enjoy them.
Thank you for your words and for the beautiful poem from George Herbert.
Thank you for another special devotional. Yes, seeking Jesus and having faith in Him is the way to go for peace and contentment.
Blessings to you for your many thoughtful writings.
In Northern Ireland, where we grew up in the forties and fifties, that word had another connotation. ‘Pulley’ also related to the indoor wooden clothesline, present in most houses, where a clothesline aided in drying clothes in the damp climate! The pulleys enabled the moving up and down of the line… to remove the dried clothes and replace them with damp ones.
Thank you for this timely devotional. I really enjoyed it and the one line really spoke to me because it is so true and I try to live that way, ‘it not the stresses that we face but how we react to the stresses!!!
Always a pleasure reading your devotionals.
Have a great day and Happy Thanksgiving.
What a fascinating poem and written so long ago.
Thanks for sharing.