Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. – Daniel 6:10
This morning, my dear brother and fellow elder stepped into the pulpit on my behalf and preached from Daniel 6 concluding our mini series of sermons on the book of Daniel.
My former Pastor, Paul Mallard, described preaching as 100 percent divine inspiration and 100 percent human perspiration! The power of faithful preaching is that the message comes from God, but it often requires discipline and sacrifice from the messenger as he does his bit to wrestle with the Word of God, before God, before he stands before the people on any given Sunday!
I appreciate what a great sacrifice of time and energy that my brother was prepared to take so that I might be released to rest and take care of Annie; and for that I am so thankful, grateful and blessed again by God for such love from my brothers and sisters in His family.
Then there’s the added blessing of hearing the Word of God delivered through my brother this morning! In particular I was encouraged and strengthened by a point he made from verse 10 of chapter 6. When Daniel faced difficulties and injustices he simply continued to do as he did before. Threatened with becoming lion bait if he prayed, Daniel continued to pray – as he had done before. The encouragement I got from that was simply:
Never cease praying. Whatever you start, whether it is your day or your journey with Jesus, start as you mean to go on!
Last night, we had just finished reading from our daily devotional, it was late and we were both tired but just before Annie could sleep a wave of coughing fits and pain overwhelmed her bones. I just find those times so hard. It’s almost too difficult to pray. I drew strength from the thought of those many sisters who are praying for us from dusk til dawn and I joined them in crying out to the Lord. What that very unarticulated prayer lacked in verbs it made up for in one glorious noun: “Jesus!”
A few months back Annie and I were reflecting on her first bout with cancer and she said something that I will never forget and never stop cherishing. She said:
“Ry, there were times back then when your love wasn’t enough and in those times I really was just experiencing what it was to be alone in the arms of Jesus.”
To be told by your loved one that you are their second-love might not sound very enamouring but when you know you are second place to Jesus it is the most wonderful thing you could ever hear from the lips of your lover! There are times when I am very aware that my love has limited resources to comfort Annie in the way that I wish I could – moments like the one last night are times like that. It leaves me to do what so many people did with their loved ones when Jesus walked on this earth 2,000 years ago: take them to Him, give them to Him.
From about 1:30am last night we slept really well and it was lovely to be woken up by Annie with a kiss on the cheek. She was even able to make it to our worship service this morning at Manor Park and for that we are so grateful to the Lord.
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere… – Psalm 84:10
As we drove to the worship service this morning the sky was blue and the sun was brilliantly bright and I was just reminded of that heavenly verse in the hymn, Amazing Grace:
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun: we’ve no less days to sings God’s praise, than when we first begun!
And then of the Apostle Paul’s words:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:17
We’ve only been married ten years so far and sometimes it seems like there is still so much more life to live. But that past decade has been so full that Annie and I often reflect that some parts of it seem like another lifetime ago! I guess that’s to be expected, ten years is still roughly a third of our life experience so far! But you know, whether God grants us another 10 days, another 10 years or even more, it’s but a mere blink of an eye compared to life in heaven. And while a sizeable chunk of those ten years have been fraught and fractured with pain, the first five minutes in heaven with Jesus, will far outweigh them all.
Waiting on our King and for our King,