Saturday, March 31, 2012

His Amazing Grace Each Day

Behind the Church of the Holy Rood in Stirling, Scotland
     When my father died, I was all of 33 years old and the loss seemed unbearable.  He was much too young to die, but a rare brain virus, Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease, took his life.  As I readied our family to make the flight to Ohio for the funeral, a friend assured me that God's grace would be there just when I needed it.  She was correct.  During the visitation time, I felt a peace come over me and a strength lift me up.  In fact, I had people tell me that I had comforted them while they had come to comfort me.  This was all of God's grace at the very time I needed it.
Outside the Governor's House at the Castle of Edinburgh
     In much the same way, God has carried both my husband and I through a journey over the last couple of months on the wings of His strength.  During a routine physical, the doctor thought something might be amiss with my husband's heart so she ordered an echocardiogram.  Following this test, she saw issues of concern and referred him to a cardiologist.  This doctor ordered two stress tests which again seemed to indicate that further investigation was required.  As a result, my husband underwent a heart catheterization
today.  I am happy to report that his test went well and no blockages were discovered.  It appears that his heart is healthy compared to the preliminary results of some of the other tests.  We were relieved, but we were never afraid.  Concerned, yes.  However, we felt the grace of God carrying us along every step.  It is a peace that undergirds and calms the soul in ways that are hard to explain.
     Today, as I entered the hospital waiting area, I saw a large picture on the wall that read:  "God is in control".  Below these words was this verse from Isaiah 43:10:  "...fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God;  I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  What a blessing to read these words of encouragement from the Lord! For we know,  God does not promise that we will not face various trials or difficulties.  This is common to all men whether a believer or not.  However, His grace is more than sufficient for us as we walk through the valleys of life.
     My Grandfather Engel, who died when I was six years old, was a godly man.  He had a heart condition that doctors felt would take his life much sooner than it did.  However, he was a man of prayer who never failed to trust in the Lord each day.   By his couch, where he napped each day and knelt for prayer, he had a poem hanging on the wall.  It is entitled "God Hath Not Promised" by Annie Johnson Flint:
                                           God hath not promised skies always blue
                                           Flower strewn pathways, all our lives through;
                                           God hath not promised sun without rain,
                                           Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

                                           But God hath promised strength for the day,
                                           Rest for the labour, light for the way,
                                           Grace for the trials, help from above,
                                           Unfailing kindness, undying love.

                                           God hath not promised we shall not know
                                           Toils and temptations, trouble and woe;
                                           He hath not told us we shall not bear
                                           Many a burden, many a care.

                                           But God hath promised strength for the day,
                                           Rest for the labour, light for the way,
                                           Grace for the trials, help from above,
                                           Unfailing kindness, undying love.

                                            God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
                                            Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
                                            Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
                                            Never a river turbid and deep.

                                            But God hath promised strength for the day,
                                            Rest for the labour, light for the way,
                                            Grace for the trials, help from above,
                                            Unfailing kindness, undying love.

     This poem has always been a treasure to me knowing that my grandfather derived encouragement from the words which speak of God's daily grace.  Not only are we saved by His amazing grace, but we are kept as we walk through this life by this same grace.  As my friend so correctly told me when my father died, God's grace will always be there just when you need it most.  He can see us through the most difficult places in life.  This is our hope, our strength and encouragement until He calls us home!  Selah!

Inside Warwick Castle in Warwick, England
I want to thank many of you who prayed for my husband and I during all the testing that has gone on.  I pray that this devotion has encouraged you.  Please leave your comments.  I read and treasure them.


Christina said...

My Dearest Barbara,

I can't tell you how thankful I am over the report that all is well and that there are no blockages. But even more so -- I rejoice that you passed the bigger and more important test of trusting God in the valley of uncertainty. What a picture of true faith you have left us in this post! I also love how God providentially encouraged you through the pictures on the wall at the hospital. And what a beautiful poem that you shared from your Grandfather Engel. I must print this one out and keep! Thank you so much for your grace and faith that is truly an encouragement to all! I will continue to pray and you can be sure that I am rejoicing here with you over this great news and God's great grace!!!

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you for your sweet words Christina. I was blessed as God walked us through this time of uncertainty. Yet, I felt every one's prayers...that is what sustains us when we don't know what the day will bring. I am so grateful to you and all my friends who prayed for us. God is so good to us all the time! Blessings my dear friend!