Disaster Diaries

His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22-23

Yves Congar was just 10 years old when World War I began and the French town where he lived was invaded by the German army. His mother encouraged him to keep a diary, and what resulted was a lucid description of a military occupation, complete with written narrative and colored sketches. His diary recorded a disaster from a child’s perspective. What he witnessed had such a profound effect on him that he felt called to bring others the hope of Christ.

Centuries earlier the prophet Jeremiah was an eyewitness to the invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. He wrote down his observations in his “diary”—the book of Lamentations. Despite these distressing times, the prophet found hope in the heart of God. He wrote: “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (3:22-23).

At various times, we may experience or witness disasters that feel like hostile forces entering our lives. But these times of trouble do not last forever. And, like Jeremiah, our most sustaining hope is to reflect upon the faithfulness and provision of our heavenly Father. The Lord’s compassions are new every morning, and His faithfulness is great! by Dennis Fisher

The best reason for hope is God’s faithfulness.

The Risk of Obeying God

Luke 5:1-11

As Christians, we can waste our lives standing on faith’s shoreline, never venturing beyond ankle-deep water. There we have little need for the Lord.

After all, we are safe on the beach, far from the danger of high waves and storms. But believers who release themselves into deeper waters of obedience need God desperately.

By casting oneself farther offshore, the Christian relinquishes control of his life. No longer can he pretend to determine his own fate, whether in regard to career choices, financial decisions, or church involvement. God is Captain of the boat, whereas the believer is the obedient first mate. Will storms come? Yes. Will the Captain at times make difficult requests? Yes. Will the first mate sometimes feel scared? Yes. But the surrendered believer experiences Christ more intimately than someone on shore can; he receives a boatload of God’s goodness and blessings.

Most churchgoers easily claim, “I’ve yielded my life to Christ.” To actually live out those words, however, is more difficult. We want to cling to a measure of control in case God doesn’t work events to our satisfaction. Too many Christians are content merely to dip their toes into faith because they fear life might not turn out according to their plan. But how much greater their loss will be if life doesn’t turn out according to God’s plan. He can do much more with a surrendered existence than a sheltered one.

The Christian life becomes exciting when we wade into water so deep that our feet no longer touch the bottom. Then we must stand on God’s promises.

He Shall Speak Peace

“And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” (Zechariah 9:10)

This wonderful prophecy follows immediately after the verse predicting the coming of the Messiah into Jerusalem riding upon a lowly donkey’s colt (v. 9). That prediction was fulfilled by Jesus as He came into Jerusalem on that last Sunday before His death and resurrection (Matthew 21:4-5), but the prophecy in our text was certainly not fulfilled at that time. There have been wars somewhere in the world practically every year since Jesus came. Nevertheless, the day will come when He shall indeed speak peace to all the nations.

There was a time early in the last century when the nations had fought a great war that was supposed to end all wars. They celebrated the armistice that ended that war on November 11, 1918, and established an annual holiday called Armistice Day. But many other wars followed that war, so the name was changed to honor the veterans who had fought in any of those later wars as well. However, there is still no real peace in the world.

The fact is that there can be no lasting peace between men and other men until there is peace between men and God. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can make such a peace, for He alone is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Indeed, He has already paid the price to make such true and eternal peace, for He “made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Colossians 1:20).

In that great coming day when He returns to Earth to establish His kingdom, “he maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth” (Psalm 46:9), “and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:17). HMM

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass

“He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.” (Psalm 72:6.)

AMOS speaks of the king’s mowings. Our King has many scythes, and is perpetually mowing His lawns. The musical tinkle of the whetstone on the scythe portends the cutting down of myriads of green blades, daisies and other flowers. Beautiful as they were in the morning, within an hour or two they lie in long, faded rows.

Thus in human life we make a brave show, before the scythe of pain, the shears of disappointment, the sickle of death.

There is no method of obtaining a velvety lawn but by repeated mowings; and there is no way of developing tenderness, evenness, sympathy, but by the passing of God’s scythes. How constantly the Word of God compares man to grass, and His glory to its flower! But when grass is mown, and all the tender shoots are bleeding, and desolation reigns where flowers were bursting, it is the most acceptable time for showers of rain falling soft and warm.

O soul, thou hast been mown! Time after time the King has come to thee with His sharp scythe. Do not dread the scythe—it is sure to be followed by the shower.—F. B. Meyer.

“When across the heart deep waves of sorrow
Break, as on a dry and barren shore;
When hope glistens with no bright tomorrow,
And the storm seems sweeping evermore;

“When the cup of every earthly gladness
Bears no taste of the life-giving stream;
And high hopes, as though to mock our sadness,
Fade and die as in some fitful dream,

“Who shall hush the weary spirit’s chiding?
Who the aching void within shall fill?
Who shall whisper of a peace abiding,
And each surging billow calmly still?

“Only He whose wounded heart was broken
With the bitter cross and thorny crown;
Whose dear love glad words of joy had spoken,
Who His life for us laid meekly down.

“Blessed Healer, all our burdens lighten;
Give us peace, Thine own sweet peace, we pray!
Keep us near Thee till the morn shall brighten,
And all the mists and shadows flee away!”

He shall choose our inheritance for us

“He shall choose our inheritance for us.” Psalm 47:4

Believer, if your inheritance be a lowly one you should be satisfied with your earthly portion; for you may rest assured that it is the fittest for you. Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. A ship of large tonnage is to be brought up the river; now, in one part of the stream there is a sandbank; should some one ask, “Why does the captain steer through the deep part of the channel and deviate so much from a straight line?” His answer would be, “Because I should not get my vessel into harbour at all if I did not keep to the deep channel.”

So, it may be, you would run aground and suffer shipwreck, if your divine Captain did not steer you into the depths of affliction where waves of trouble follow each other in quick succession. Some plants die if they have too much sunshine. It may be that you are planted where you get but little, you are put there by the loving Husbandman, because only in that situation will you bring forth fruit unto perfection. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.

You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, “Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows.” Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. Down busy self, and proud impatience, it is not for you to choose, but for the Lord of Love!

“Trials must and will befall—
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all;
This is happiness to me.”

Underneath are the everlasting arms

“Underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

God—the eternal God—is Himself our support at all times, and especially when we are sinking in deep trouble. There are seasons when the Christian sinks very low in humiliation. Under a deep sense of his great sinfulness, he is humbled before God till he scarcely knows how to pray, because he appears, in his own sight, so worthless. Well, child of God, remember that when thou art at thy worst and lowest, yet “underneath” thee “are everlasting arms.” Sin may drag thee ever so low, but Christ’s great atonement is still under all. You may have descended into the deeps, but you cannot have fallen so low as “the uttermost”; and to the uttermost He saves.

Again, the Christian sometimes sinks very deeply in sore trial from without. Every earthly prop is cut away. What then? Still underneath him are “the everlasting arms.” He cannot fall so deep in distress and affliction but what the covenant grace of an ever-faithful God will still encircle him. The Christian may be sinking under trouble from within through fierce conflict, but even then he cannot be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the “everlasting arms”—they are underneath him; and, while thus sustained, all Satan’s efforts to harm him avail nothing.

This assurance of support is a comfort to any weary but earnest worker in the service of God. It implies a promise of strength for each day, grace for each need, and power for each duty. And, further, when death comes, the promise shall still hold good. When we stand in the midst of Jordan, we shall be able to say with David, “I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” We shall descend into the grave, but we shall go no lower, for the eternal arms prevent our further fall.

All through life, and at its close, we shall be upheld by the “everlasting arms”—arms that neither flag nor lose their strength, for “the everlasting God fainteth not, neither is weary.”