WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED
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 labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
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.
Annie Johnson Flint
For what is our life in God? Do we seek Utopia and perfection? We who are the faithful do not. I believe we first run out of our own strength and before we wither and fall to compost, we reach out to a hope and dream that there is God and He will help us. So, our reaching hand meets His, and we submit to Jesus. We see a magnificent transformation in our lives. With the care and keenness of our acute listening and seeking of a personal relationship with God, we attain the perspective of eternity. We see life through the eyes of God and we begin to see a path to walk on. His provision.
But on this path the flowers strewn may wither and succumb to brambles and thorns. There are periods of darkness with stones on which we stumble. But straight we walk and we are corrected as we endure our distractions with a focused purpose. His Light.
And we do not see what the foolish hope for. For if we seek happiness, there is correction. If we seek perfection we see perfecting. He provides the refining process and we endure and learn joy. For clouds will cover the sun and noise will distract from the sweet sound of the harps of angels. Yet we persevere. What drives us? A question asked only by those who foolishly grasp at wind. Flailing and wavering in uncertain surety, and ever stubborn that God is for the weak. Happiness should burst forth and sustain says the world. Happiness is but fleeting and joy endures forever. We see because He is wise.
What we know is there is respite for our labors, but our labors are not for our vanity, but for He who places the tasks before us. His calling to us beckons us to greater heights. But still the ungodly grasp at the wind, ever-wringing hands and gnashing teeth. “What happens when I die?” cries the faithless. “My burdens are too much!” We know because He provides us with all we need and we are perfecting, learning to endure, and finding an unconditional love inherent in Jesus. The fool may never see.
So we walk upon the His path and glance to the left or right. Our eyes catch something, there is a fixation, and we fall. We flail and revisit temptation but in our falling our outstretched hand is met by the right hand God. His righteousness pull us from the Slough of Despond. We are in His arms again. Straight again is the narrow path.
We reach the river wide and swift. With His calling we step into the water. It is cold and deep. Yet He beckons still because we are the faithful. We take a step anew and then again. As the water rises to our face, still we persevere. The deep water dries and the mountain ease their slope and we find our self in the Loving, caring arms of our Savior. He carries us through these times. He sees our struggles and picks us up when we fall. But we are ever-focused. For God has not promised a flower-strewn pathway in happiness and riches. Not in the context of the unfaithful. His riches and prosperity are seen in His mercy, grace, and love. The flowers of a joyful heart. In His provision, we grasp His hand.
But alas at the wind, the fool’s hopeless grasp.