From "Morning & Evening Devotions" by Charles Spurgeon:
Evening, September 18th:
"... Wherever Jesus may lead us, He goes before us. If we know not where we go, we know with Whom we go. With such a companion, who will dread the perils of the road? The journey may be long, but His everlasting arms will carry us to the end...It is true they may not be smooth paths - they may be covered with sharp flinty trials, but they lead to the 'city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God'."
I preached this past Sept. 11th on Romans 8:18-25, 'Living in the Hope of Glory'. I vividly remember looking my brothers and sisters in the eye and saying, "As of yet, I haven't ever really experienced suffering". And it's true. My parents are living, they love each other, my sister is thriving with a God-centered home, and we have all, for the most part, been spared any real grief throughout my lifetime. I also remember mentioning the simple truth that if you live for any period of time here on Earth, you will suffer...especially as a follower of Jesus Christ. Little did I know that exactly twenty-four hours later, we would find ourselves lost in the dark, lonely woods of suffering.
I keep reverting back to how I have counseled others, and what I would say to myself now. It's a frantic effort to numb some of the pain and lay hold to some wisdom, even if it's just a finger's grasp. And what I find now, is that nothing is more comforting to me than this simple truth: "He goes before us".
No matter where I find myself, Jesus has been there. He has walked the path before, surveyed the horizon and taken hold of its every detail. In short, He's conquered it. It was the path to Glory, and it wasn't smooth.
I'm restless. I don't sleep well. I wake up anxious and nervous. At some point in the day, my heart gets heavy and I lose concentration at my job. All I can think about is her, and how badly I want her. I want to see her face, tug on the inevitable pigtails, and sing songs with her. I want to be with her. And I want her to know me. I know she won't be perfect, and there will be times that she'll drive me crazy. But I want her. I know what God is doing, I'm just not so sure of the method, of the path sometimes.
But when you look with different eyes, you'll see that Jesus was here too. He suffered much, long before the cross. Yet He submitted Himself wholly to the will of His Father and set out to do His bidding, knowing that glory that awaited Him. He endured opposition, ignorant hearts, false accusations, abandonment, temptations, exhaustion, to name a few, not to mention separation from the Father. He's been here before. And He has given His Holy Spirit to walk with me now.
"With such a companion, who will dread the perils of the road?" I don't know what's coming up around the bend or what hides in this dense, dark forest. I don't know what this phone call is going to say. I don't know what tomorrow or even tonight holds. But I know my Savior and I have decided to follow my Lord. No turning back. Spurgeon finishes with this:
"Let us put full trust in our Leader, since we know that, come prosperity or adversity, sickness or health, popularity or contempt, His purpose shall be worked out, and that purpose shall be pure, unmingled Good to every heir of mercy. We shall find it sweet to go up the bleak side of the hill with Christ; and when the rain and snow blow into our faces, His dear love will make us far more blest than those who sit at home and warm their hands at the world's fire."
Amen. Please do what only You can, and for Your Glory, heal Your baby girl. Whatever Your will, You are good, and I will follow, no turning back. Amen.