DayBreaks for 1/24/20: Marks of Clarity
From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:
There are times in my walk with God when things seem very clear. But then again, there are times when I long for even the slightest inkling of clarity. At times my relationship with the Lord is so real and palpable that I can’t help but be overwhelmed with the wonder of it all. But then again, there are times (if I am to be honest with God, you and myself) when it all seems very unreal and like a sham. And I find myself pondering from time to time: which is real? Which reflects the real me and my relationship with God? Am I only fooling myself when I feel so close to Him that I weep?
William Cowper was a Christian songwriter of years gone by. He wrote some of the favorite songs of the church, including the hymns O For a Closer Walk with God, God Moves in a Mysterious Way His wonders to Perform, and There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood. For a period of time, he lived in a house with John Newton, a converted slave-trader and author of Amazing Grace. It is interesting how little grace Cowper actually experienced. For long years he feared that he had committed the unpardonable sin and was hounded by false rumors of an illicit affair. As a result, Cowper suffered a nervous breakdown, tried several times to kill himself, and was kept for some of his life in a straightjacket in an insane asylum for his own protection. During the last quarter of his life, he avoided church entirely.
He wrote these word: “Where is the blessedness I knew, When first I sought the Lord? Where is the soul-refreshing dew Of Jesus and His Word? What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void The world can never fill. Return, O Holy Dove, return Sweet messenger of rest! I hate the sins that made Thee mourn And drove Thee from my breast.”
There are many who might consider Cowper a prime candidate for the title of Christian hypocrite for his struggles, a man who wrote beautifully and convincingly about things he found hard, if not impossible, to put into practice. I prefer to think of his hymns as being the real marks of clarity in a very troubled life. He was the one who wrote: “Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.” Perhaps I am naïve, but I see in Cowper’s struggle my own struggles and in his struggling faith, a reflection of my own.
PRAYER: Father, thank You for redeeming love that loves a wretch like me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>