Thursday, March 11, 2010
Higher Realms of Grace
I'm still recouperating from my busy time of activity with my involvement from the women's conference we just put on at my church. At the end of the conference we were each asked to lay down a burden at "the foot of the cross". A friend asked me later what I "layed down". My answer - my body, my pain. So many would bear a delightful exhaustion from such an event - nothing that a foot soak and a good night's sleep wouldn't help. It will take me a good couple of weeks to ease my physical exhaustion, fatigued muscles, and swollen and painful joints. My condition is complex (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, benign joint hypermobility). My daily naps have consisted of 6 hours one day, 4 hours the rest, and my pain level is soaring. It's a price I seem to pay for doing some things that I enjoy. The spirit is willing but the flesh is so weak. My energy and ability waxes and wanes. Oh, but the joy in my heart helps me bear it. Bear it in the vessel that was appointed to me - one that need not be crushed, but that needs to learn to bend.
This burden of mine few understand, but when I read my Streams in the Dessert tonight I saw that one Miss Mary Butterfield did. I do not know who this Miss Butterfield was, as I could not find any information on her, but her heart speaks to me - ministers to me - through the words she wrote long ago . . . " Our burdens are our wings; on them We soar to higher realms of grace."
"Look from the top" (Song of Solomon 4:8).
Crushing weights give the Christian wings. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but it is a blessed truth. David out of some bitter experience cried: "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! Then would I fly away, and be at rest" (Ps. 55:6). But before he finished this meditation he seems to have realized that his wish for wings was a realizable one. For he says, "Cast thy burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain thee."
The word "burden" is translated in the Bible margin, "what he (Jehovah) hath given thee." The saints' burdens are God-given; they lead him to "wait upon Jehovah," and when that is done, in the magic of trust, the "burden" is metamorphosed into a pair of wings, and the weighted one "mounts up with wings as eagles. --Sunday School Times
One day when walking down the street,
On business bent, while thinking hard
About the "hundred cares" which seemed
Like thunder clouds about to break
In torrents, Self-pity said to me:
"You poor, poor thing, you have too much
To do. Your life is far too hard.
This heavy load will crush you soon."
A swift response of sympathy
Welled up within. The burning sun
Seemed more intense. The dust and noise
Of puffing motors flying past
With rasping blast of blowing horn
Incensed still more the whining nerves,
The fabled last back-breaking straw
To weary, troubled, fretting mind.
"Ah, yes, 'twill break and crush my life;
I cannot bear this constant strain
Of endless, aggravating cares;
They are too great for such as I."
So thus my heart condoled itself,
"Enjoying misery," when lo!
A "still small voice" distinctly said,
"Twas sent to lift you--not to crush."
I saw at once my great mistake.
My place was not beneath the load
But on the top! God meant it not
That I should carry it. He sent
It here to carry me. Full well
He knew my incapacity
Before the plan was made. He saw
A child of His in need of grace
And power to serve; a puny twig
Requiring sun and rain to grow;
An undeveloped chrysalis;
A weak soul lacking faith in God.
He could not help but see all this
And more. And then, with tender thought
He placed it where it had to grow--
Or die. To lie and cringe beneath
One's load means death, but life and power
Await all those who dare to rise above.
Our burdens are our wings; on them
We soar to higher realms of grace;
Without them we must roam for aye
On planes of undeveloped faith,
(For faith grows but by exercise in circumstance impossible).
Oh, paradox of Heaven. The load
We think will crush was sent to lift us
Up to God! Then, soul of mine,
Climb up! for naught can e'er be crushed
Save what is underneath the weight.
How may we climb! By what ascent
Shall we surmount the carping cares
Of life! Within His word is found
The key which opes His secret stairs;
Alone with Christ, secluded there,
We mount our loads, and rest in Him.
--Miss Mary Butterfield
How have your burdens impacted your writing?