Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Jonah’

let_the_glory_out_tshirts-rf982b89d7b1846dbb186d467bd317390_8naah_324

Defeat may serve as well as victory

To shake the soul and let the glory out.

When the great oak is straining in the wind

The boughs drink in new beauty and the trunk

Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.

Only the soul that knows the mighty grief

Can know the mighty rapture.  Sorrows come

To stretch out spaces in the heart of joy.

–Edwin Markham (1852-1940)

Mr. Markham–educator, author, and poet– gives us much to contemplate in just eight lines, beginning with the first seven words:

“Defeat may serve as well as victory.”

No, thank you, my spirit says.  Defeat is humiliating, uncomfortable, and depressing.

Mr. Markham inspires a different perspective and a note-to-self:  God may very well bring defeats into my life “to shake my soul and let the glory out.”

Reminds me of Jonah, the reluctant prophet who tried to run from God.  The Lord told him to go east to Nineveh, an important city of Assyria.  Instead he headed west, boarding a ship for Tarshish.

But a fierce storm churned the seas into a boil.  In desperation to appease the gods, the sailors hurled Jonah overboard.  Surely in those tense moments of near-drowning and then being swallowed by a great fish, Jonah felt crushing defeat.  His life was over; it was just a matter of seconds.

Yet he didn’t die.  Hour after hour in the utter blackness of the fish’s belly, he remained alive.

No doubt he felt shaken in his soul, and in his distress, he called to the Lord (2:1ff).

God heard his prayer and commanded the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah_shore

 Then the Lord repeated Jonah’s marching orders: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you” (3:1).

This time Jonah obeyed, and the glory came forth.   Jonah preached and the people repented. God had compassion upon the citizens of Nineveh, and did not bring destruction upon them.

What appeared to be a mortal defeat for Jonah turned into a glorious revival for a wicked city.

Read Mr. Markham’s poem again and you’ll discover more benefits of defeat, as outcomes of:

  • Straining in the wind.  Pressing on during adversity results in perseverance and strength of character.
  • Drinking in new beauty.  During times of distress we’re more aware of God’s glorious attributes at work in our spirits–attributes such as empowerment, faithfulness, peace, and grace.
  • Sending down deep roots.  Defeat often brings us to new depths of surrender and submission.  It also brings us to new depths of God’s love (Ephesians 3:17).
  • Experiencing grief.  Only those that know a mighty grief can know the mighty rapture.  Like diamonds against dark velvet, joy needs a backdrop of sadness in order to be appreciated fully.
  • Experiencing sorrow.  Sorrows create space for joy.  Joy is never so sweet and overwhelming as after sorrow.

God knows what he’s doing, and he doesn’t waste time or effort.  False starts and fruitless endeavors just don’t happen with our perfect Heavenly Father.

Therefore, when defeat comes into my life or yours, we can rest assured he is accomplishing his good purpose for us.

There will be victory in defeat.

Guaranteed.

 

(photo and art credits:  www.zazzle.co.nz.com; http://www.searchforbibletruths.blogspot.com.)

 

Read Full Post »

Somewhere along the way, someone gave golf clubs the nickname of “crooked sticks.” In fact, if you Google that term, you’ll bring up a golf course in Indiana. Beautiful. Even boasts a red barn.

But this post has nothing to do with golf. It’s about usefulness, taken from a metaphor written several centuries ago:

God can make a straight stroke with a crooked stick

– John Watson, Puritan preacher.

I am a crooked stick—unlovely and full of imperfections.

Yet I take great encouragement from the fact God specializes in redeeming crooked sticks. The Bible gives dozens of examples. Abraham, Moses, David, Jonah, and Peter are just a few that readily come to mind.

Abraham took a shortcut which has negatively impacted his descendants ever since.

Moses was a murderer.

David committed adultery.

Jonah refused to follow God’s plan.

Peter was brash and impulsive.

Yet consider what God did through these crooked sticks.

Abraham became the father of God’s chosen people.

Moses led the chosen people from Egypt into the Promised Land.

English: Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deu...

David ruled Israel as a strong, much-loved Shepherd-King. Son of David became a title for God’s own Son.

National Cathedral_King David (Parmelee window...

Jonah brought an entire city to repentance.

Peter became a leader of the early church. His first sermon alone convinced 3,000 people to believe in Jesus and follow the Way.

Apostle Peter Preaching

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Heavenly Father, thank you for not discarding crooked sticks. Thank you for forgiving our foolish choices, lousy attitudes, wrong motivations, prideful actions, and somehow using us anyway to make straight strokes. As 2013 approaches, I pray you take the crooked stick of my life and produce positive strokes as only you can do.

Read Full Post »

Meditations of my Heart

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Linda Stoll

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Debby Thompson

Impressions Becoming Expressions

My Cammino

A spiritual learning journey

Colleen Scheid

Writing, Acting, Living the Grace of God

Walking Well With God

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Heidi Viars

Taking a closer look

(in)courage

Impressions Becoming Expressions