When depression and sadness come to me, by reason of the sin within, or the discouragements without; when the thorns and briers of daily cares and vexations prick and tear the weary pilgrim's feet and hands; then you turn my footsteps to where the pines and myrtles of your loving mercies grow, and in their shelter and fragrance my troubled spirit finds rest.
No, more than this, dear Lord, your power is so great that you sometimes transform the very things that hurt and grieved me into means of grace and blessing to my heart and life. Disappointments in my work, obstacles to its performance, the estrangement of friends, conscious incompetence and weakness, and often an overpowering sense of deepening responsibility--these experiences are like thorns and briers, which irritate and worry by their persistent and close contact; yet all these vanish when you, my gracious God, give the word, and I wonder as I find myself walking peacefully among the fir trees, where the pine needles lie thick upon the ground, spreading the softness of carpets under my tired feet; and where the myrtle's snowy blossoms and glossy leaves promise perfume and sweetness even to those who bruise them. Your ways, O Lord, are past finding out, but they are very gracious and tender; and this turning of seeming evil into good, of making your children's trials grow into triumphs, and their pains into pleasures, is a wonderful proof both of your pity and your power.
Are you afflicted? Are your already weary feet ripped time and again by "the thorns and briers of daily cares and vexations?" God's grace awaits you in the midst of your trials. Find shade beneath "the pines and myrtles of his loving mercies."
Ray Rhodes is the author of the upcoming book: "Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon" from Moody Publishers. For scheduling Ray to speak for your next event, contact him here.