The legacy of a great wife from a grieving husband.

As the days of healing pass over me I want to share my thoughts with those who care.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Worship In the Clouds

Lately there were a few postings on Face book of the hymn “It is Well with My Soul” in memory of Miriam. Today I had an awesome experience and I want to share it.

At the end of last week I had to quickly plan a business trip for today to Milwaukee. As I was packing at home I was looking for a book to take along for the trip. I came across a slightly worn yellowed paged copy of Knowing God by J.I. Packer. Inside of the front cover penned Miriam’s maiden name and her parent’s address. I assume she got it less then a year before we got married and to my shame this is the first time I laid eyes on it.

Today as I was on my second leg of my flight (from Philadelphia to Milwaukee) and partway in the book I was overcome with emotions when I read about that:
”…. knowing God is a matter of grace. It is a relationship in which the initiative throughout is with God— as it must be, since God is so completely above us and we have so completely forfeited all claim on his favour by our sins.
What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it—the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort. … in knowing that God is contently taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.”
End quote

I blushed (I don’t do it often enough) when I read “there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me”. While I have known and embraced these truths from my youth how often ignore them and in thought, speech and even in actions I conduct myself in ways that clearly displease Him.

Since Miriam is not with me so often as now at 30,000 ft I find myself like a little child, with tears in my eyes, curled up on daddy’s lap seeking comfort from Him who in spite of my sin doesn’t let me fall but rather draws me to himself.
Reminds me of His pain and suffering, on my behalf at the cross, so now I have the privilege of sitting on His lap.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Before you continue please read 
Psalm 139. If you don’t have a bible let me know and I’ll send you one)

While I was worshipping the captain’s voice pulled me back into reality announcing that “….we are just before Detroit…”. As I looked out the window the clouds that were with us since Buffalo broke and a familiar landscape opened up below us. Point Pelee, Amhustburg, LaSalle……I was out of my mind…. we were flying over Miriam’s grave. I almost sobbed out loud.

……Around 1873 while cross­ing the At­lan­tic, all four of Horatio Spaf­ford’s daugh­ters died in a col­li­sion with an­o­ther ship. Spaf­ford’s wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, “Saved alone.” Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, as Spaf­ford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daugh­ters died, the Ho­ly Spir­it in­spired these words……

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
(Meditate on these words line by line)

Since I was confined in the plane with 30 or so other passengers I didn’t sing loud but could not resist humming the tune over and over while the words were flooding through my mind as my “ship” was sailing over the grave.

I have to admit I never had a more awesome experience with God in my life and I just had a little taste of the ecstasy that Miriam and all the saints that are gone before us are enjoying in His presence. It may sound add to say this at this time in my life but I declare with absolute certainty that God is a HOLY, GOOD, LOVING AND JUST GOD. All the things that we are experiencing (including the loss of Miriam) are the part of His wonderful work of making us and all things new in Christ. (Read 2 Corinthians 5)