Courageous

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Hans (4 1/2), Defending the Last Frontier

Eight days before Hans died, in Sunday morning worship at church, we sang the hymn “More Love to Thee” by Elizabeth Prentiss.  It is a challenge for me to sing this hymn honestly and I have always hesitated when beginning verse three which, in our hymnbook, reads:

Let sorrow do its work,

Send grief and pain;

Sweet are Thy messengers,

Sweet their refrain,

When they can sing with me,

More love, O Christ to Thee,

More love to Thee,

More love to Thee!

Understandably, I have never sung these lines with gusto; it just feels too much like lying.  Send grief and pain?!

Of course, I understand and accept the benefits to be won through trials and affliction.  But to ask for it?  I am not that brave.

But, I sang it anyway that last Sunday morning with my husband and all three of our sons.  (Our daughter was working away from home).  I even sang verse three, but I sang it cautiously, hoping God would send no such thing.

But He did.

He sent the sweet messengers of grief and pain and tears and choking sorrow.  Heavy, heavy things I can accept from no other hand than that of my Father in Heaven who loves me.

He has given what is best.

So, will the blessings to be gained through this present trial give me courage to ask Him to send more grief and more pain?  I honestly don’t think so.  My whole body tenses up just thinking about it.  Is anyone really ever that brave?

I do not think I will be that brave any time soon.  Truthfully, I do not feel like being brave at all today.  I confess to wanting the growth and the blessings, without the trials.  If More Love means More Pain, I confess to not wanting to sign up for that right now.

Help me, Lord, to be willing to welcome whatever brings me closer to you.

Help me, Lord, to be brave.

Postscript:

Elizabeth Prentiss lost two children and wrote “More Love To Thee” while deep in her grief.  Below is a poem she wrote and here is a link to her story:

I thought that prattling boys and girls
Would fill this empty room;
That my rich heart would gather flowers
From childhood’s opening bloom:
One child and two green graves are mine,
This is God’s gift to me;
A bleeding, fainting, broken heart,
This is my gift to Thee.”

More Love To Thee

Lyrics: Elizabeth Prentiss, 1818-1878

Music: William Doane, 1832-1915

More love to Thee, O Christ,
More love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make
On bended knee:
This is my earnest plea:
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee,
More love to Thee!
Once earthly joy I craved,
Sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek,
Give what is best;
This all my prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee,
More love to Thee!

Let sorrow do its work,
Send grief and pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers,
Sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me:
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee,
More love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath
Whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry
My heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee,
More love to Thee!

19 thoughts on “Courageous

  1. I don’t think I will ever be able to ask for more grief and pain, yet I live with the realistic expectation of both due to my daughter’s ARSACS.

    My heart has struggled greatly with a dichotomy of trust. I have discovered that I trust Him fully and joyfully with my eternal future, but trust Him with a large degree of resignation and sadness for what will surely come to pass in what remains of my earthly existence. I know my heart is safe with Him, but don’t quite trust Him with my heart as I fear the brokenness that is yet to come my way. I am so very thankful that sorrow and pain have purpose and that they draw me ever closer to Christ, but I think it’s a bit sadistic to ask for either.

    I loved hearing Elizabeth Prentiss’ story, and not to be nit picky but it should be noted that Christ did not ask for the grief and pain of the cross but instead endured and surrendered Himself to it, to His Father’s will, for the joy set before Him. I will never seek suffering but I can and do rejoice in the spiritual lessons I’ve leaned in the midst of the Refiner’s Fire.

    Courage doesn’t demand that we rush forward into battle, but that we step into the fray when the battle cannot be avoided. So, Kim, there is no need to ask for grief and pain. You are brave because you have stepped into the painful battle against the one enemy yet, but guaranteed, to fall (death) and are valiantly contending for your faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, Janet. There is no need to ask for more when you already have plenty. And I know that there is plenty more grace to meet the trials we will surely face in the future. It has always intrigued me that Christians who suffer under severe persecution don’t always pray for deliverance. They pray for more Bibles. Some even pray that the suffering and persecution would not be lifted because they do not want to lose the blessings received in the trial and the explosion in church growth which occurs during such times. I don’t know if I would be eager to pray that way, but I know He would give me the grace to do it. Incidentally, Some versions of the hymn read “Let sorrow do its work COME grief or pain” rather than “SEND grief and pain.” Much easier to sing it that way. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim, you had visited my blog earlier. It led me to come back to yours and I am weeping because I wrote a post about a sorrowful mother. Now I am connecting the dots, and you are a weeping mom, and I wish I could find the COURAGE and DEVOTION you have in our Lord.
    Oh ,HE weeps with you.
    Father Lord, give my fellow sister Kim the strength she needs each day as she mourns the loss and finds comfort at thy bosom.
    Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Re-post: Courageous | You Can Trust Him

  4. The title of your blog fits so perfectly here…you can trust Him…through the pain and through the sorrow, He is the only one we can trust. Through your pain you are showcasing the Hope we have in Christ. I weep with your heart, and rejoice in your hope. Hans would be proud to see you taking his tragedy and not wasting one ounce…You truly prove how our loving heavenly father can work all things for His glory. My prayers continue as you heal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marijo, I don’t even know what to say. Your sweet words say everything I need to hear today. I so want people to know that God knows what He is doing and that He can be trusted – with the little things as well as the big ones. Thank you for acknowledging this and for taking the time to encourage me this way. All glory to Him. Thank you for your prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Our son, John Paul, journeyed heavenward November 12, 2015, from the end of our driveway, a week after his 25th birthday… His vehicle crumpled around a cedar tree after he momentarily drifted off to sleep on his way home – I had spoken to him not 15 minutes before the accident, as he began to head home…”I am on my way home, Mom” …and so, he was – to be held by the Lord, not I.

    He too was schooled at home through high school and was a full of life, brilliance, smiles and sparkling eyes, awesome hugs, a talented chef, heart-touching writer, loved his God and family and so much more…I can hardly breathe, still.

    This scripture has brought me comfort… 2 Corinthians 5:6,7 So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. NLT

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful son, John Paul. So awesome to know our boys are together with the Lord. The base of Hans’ monument stone reads: ABSENT FROM THE BODY, PRESENT WITH THE LORD. It doesn’t get better than that!

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  6. aaagh…my heart breaks yet again…my sister, I love you, though I have not met you…your words could be my own…you are on my heart and in my thoughts and prayers, especially these weeks in January ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kim, how I admire your trusting heart! I know your devotion to Christ is precious to Him.

    We would pathological if we asked for pain. We are never told to do so in Scripture, and Christ never asked for suffering. We know that God “does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone” (Lam. 3:33). He does not take pleasure in our pain. Instead, He is distressed in all our distress (Is. 63:9). But He does value and honor our trust in His goodness.

    We do want to say, “Yes” to all that His love and wisdom ordain. Joni Eareckson Tada, who has suffered greatly, says, “God allows what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves.”

    We need not ask for sorrow. But when it comes, as you so beautifully say, we can trust Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tami. I guess I won’t feel guilty then about being squeamish on verse three. It just never feels right to sing it. I imagine that is why in some versions of this hymn, verse three is omitted or changed to “Come grief or pain.” I’m still not sure what the original words actually were. Thank you for taking the time to give me these scripture verses. And the quote from Joni, like most everything she writes, just boils it down to what I need to hear today. You have built me up today, sister. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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