I rest my weary soul in thee
The Hansen family, some friends of ours from Rangiora, New
Zealand, have been faithful over the years to supply me with tapes and videos of
a speaker that they introduced me to some years ago -– a Southern Baptist
minister named Ronald Dunn. If I ever stopped to consider my intense interest in
his ministry I would conclude that it was because he was 'interesting' and
could keep my attention -– nothing more than that.
When coming to the ship, I realised with regret that I really
only had room for one of his tapes and would have to leave the rest behind. This
being so it was with much excitement that I received the news from a friend on
board that Ron Dunn had also written books and that we had them on board. I
rushed off to the library to pick up a copy of 'When Heaven is Silent' and
after reading through a little way, I realised why I liked his teaching so much.
That man has suffered!
Through the years, although I have tried strenuously to avoid
it, it's really been drawn to my attention that people who have suffered, and
accepted it, have much of value to share with others. A special grace seems to
attach itself to these people that is not present when speaking to those who
resist pain and suffering and often attribute it all to the devil. (It's kind
of fascinating to see how powerful the devil is if he's able to wreak such
havoc in the lives of God's people. Why on earth would anyone want to follow
God if He's that weak?)
One of the statements that Mr Dunn made is "good and bad
run on parallel tracks, and they usually arrive at the same time". When I
first heard this statement (on one of my videos), I didn't like it. However, I
have since seen this principle working over and over again. A good example is
William Cowper -– a British poet who went on to become the composer of some of
the world's best loved hymns i.e. "There is a fountain filled with blood"
and "O for a closer walk with God." He wrote "God moves in a mysterious
way, His wonders to perform", on the eve of his second suicide attempt. To
quote from the book, "Modern psychiatrists have diagnosed Cowper as 'bi-polar
depressive'. Throughout his lifetime, before and after his conversion, the
poet moved in and out of severe bouts with depression, which he called 'madness'.
He lived the last quarter of his life in seclusion, never
entering a church. But as one writer says, 'His hymns were there. They are
still there, giving a tongue to the pain of the doubter, the weak, and the
sufferer. Every time I hear them now, I admire the man who kept on writing.'
Good and bad running on parallel tracks.....
George Matheson. Do you know his story? He was a bright young
man with a promising future, engaged to be married. And then he began to lose
his sight. Not wanting to be shackled to a blind man for the rest of her life,
his fiancee broke off the engagement. Out of that heartbreak, Matheson wrote:
O love, that wilt not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee
I give Thee back the life I owe
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be....
O joy that seekest me through pain
I dare not shut my heart to Thee
I'll trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be
O joy that seekest me through pain! I'll trace the
rainbow through the rain! Good and bad running on parallel tracks.....
I met a couple in a Midwest city a few years ago whose story,
though familiar, was no less painful. Their daughter fell in love with a boy
they didn't approve of; he had, they felt, some serious character flaws. And
they did what parents are wont to do with their daughters -– they apprised her
of their assessment of him and counselled her to break if off. And she did what
daughters are wont to do -– she ignored their advice (advice which actually
spurred her onward) and married the boy. Unfortunately, the parents were correct
in their estimate of the young man; he did have some serious character flaws -–
and a few years and two babies later, he abandoned her.
They could not tell their story without weeping. I hurt with
them as they spoke of the pain and embarrassment and hardships through which
their daughter had passed.
As I drove away that night, I fantasized about being God. Do
you ever do that? Do you ever say, 'If I were God ...?' ......
Anyway, I got to thinking how wonderful it would be if God
granted me the power to turn back the calendar in the lives of that family. I
would say to them, 'Listen, God has given me the power to change everything
that happened. I can turn back the clock and make it so your daughter will never
meet that boy, never fall in love with him, never marry him, never be abandoned.
I can make it where you will never know that heartache, never shed those tears.
I can reverse this whole thing, and it will be as though it never happened. I
can do that. Do you want me to? Just say the word and it will be done.
Oh, there is one thing I should probably mention. You do
realise that if I erase this terrible experience, you will have to give up those
You look startled. Well, you can't have it both ways, you
know. If she never meets that boy, you'll never have those grandchildren.
You say you don't want the pain? Well, I can get rid of
that. What's that? You don't want to give up the children? Well, like I
said. You can't have it both ways. You need to make up your mind. Which will
Now, I'm not a grandfather, so I can't speak with
authority. But many a grandpa and grandma have told me they wouldn't give up
their grandchildren, no matter what the pain.
How can we say that what happened in that family was totally
evil when out of it came two precious lives you would die for?
Good and bad run on parallel tracks and they usually arrive
about the same time."
When you read the parable of the wheat and the tares in the
book of Matthew, the question asked is where did this bad seed come from? Only
good seed was sown. Many of us today are also asking the same question about our
families. We sowed the best seed in our homes and children -– where did all
these heartaches and disappointments come from? Why is my life choked with evil?
What was the answer from Jesus? "Don't root the tares up
in case it harms the roots of the wheat. Leave them to grow together and at the
time of harvesting, I will sort them out." What an amazing promise!
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without
wavering; (for He is faithful that promised)." Hebrews 10:23.