Only deep can answer deep. Nothing that is merely of the shallows can respond to the depths, and only what goes deep in us can meet the deep needs of others. If we want to help those who are passing through floods, we must have been through floods ourselves. Have we a history of God’s secret dealings, or does what men see represent all we have got? Many of us are shallow. We only seem to grow outwardly, with nothing in reserve. If we choose to live on the surface of things, we may be of some help to folk in need, but the happiness we bring them will pass. We shall not have been really able to meet them where they are. Paul had a secret he kept for fourteen long years, and what help has its eventual disclosure brought! When we have found God speaking to us in the depths, then it is we possess treasures of darkness to share with others in their hour of trial
Watchman Nee – A Table in the Wilderness, June 8th.
Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.
The last time I took an aeroplane I was watching the safety announcement. The film explained that if there is a failure of the cabin oxygen system, oxygen masks will fall from the overhead panel. There was a section where the film shows a mother fitting her own oxygen mask before turning to her child. It clearly makes the point that each individual should see to their own oxygen supply before helping anyone else.
Of course that makes perfect sense but, as a mother, I know I would be tempted to see to my child first. For some reason this image stayed with me for several days until it came to me why I couldn’t get it out of my mind. No one else in my family is a believer and it is particularly on my mind when it comes to my children. I had been thinking about this recently – whether there had been more I could have done while the children were younger.
However, the message came through loud and clear – look to your own spiritual journey and leave everyone else’s to God. We are only untimately responsible for our own path and we underestimate God and show lack of faith if we can’t put others into his arms and leave them there. That is not to say that we can’t pray for them and set an example but, ultimately, we have to rest ourselves and our loved ones in God’s capable care – ‘Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him’ (psalm 37:7). Easier said than done but do not fret!
1 Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. 2 Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.
3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue— 4 those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”
5 “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” 6 And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold[c] refined seven times.
7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, 8 who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8
Angel wings have been a source of inspiration in art from the earliest of days. These images come from La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. The wings are etched onto the ceilings of the aisles and lit by colours that stream through the stained glass windows. The colours change depending on the strength and angle of the sun. It is truly awe inspiring.