“He has done things well.”
Mark 7 v. 37
We are at the end of July 2023. And although I have a lot within, I’d like to share, time this week will not permit me to do so. Yet, as I consider all the good, I’ve had the pleasure to experience this month, I also think of the stressors that came my way—and there were many. I remained strong and resilient despite all of it because I always know where to go to find and reestablish peace. This week, as I reread one of Octavius Winslow’s writings, I was reminded of how valuable it is to always live in gratitude.
As we end July, let’s think of how wonderful God is to us.
He is with us:
In providence and in grace,
in every truth of His Word,
in every lesson of His love,
in every stroke of His rod,
in every sunbeam that has shone,
in every cloud that has shaded,
in every element that has sweetened,
in every ingredient that has embittered,
in all that has been mysterious, inscrutable, painful, and humiliating,
in all that He gave,
in all that He took away,
this testimony is His just due, and this our grateful acknowledgment through time and through eternity: “He has done all things well!”
Has He converted us through grace by a way we had thought the most improbable?
Has He torn up all our earthly hopes by the roots?
Has He thwarted our schemes, frustrated our plans, disappointed our expectations?
Has He taught us in schools most trying, by a discipline most severe, and lessons most humbling to our nature?
Has He withered our strength by sickness, reduced us to poverty by loss, crushed our heart by bereavement?
And have we been tempted to exclaim, “All these things are against me!”
Ah! no! faith will yet obtain the ascendancy, and sweetly sing:
“I know in all things that befell,
My Jesus has done all things well!”
Beloved, it must be so, for Jesus can do nothing wrong!
Study the way of His providence and grace with the microscopic eye of faith — view them in every light, examine them in their minutest detail, as you would the petal of a flower, or the wing of an insect; and, oh, what wonders, what beauty, what marvelous adaptation would you observe in all the varied dealings with you, of your glorious Lord!
-Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)
Friends, I am an avid reader, but nothing is more precious to me than writings of preachers of the 15th to 18th centuries. I find them to be ever so profound and touching. And in reading and applying the lessons of these teachers, they offer me a true classroom into God’s nature. This is in addition to reading God’s Word, of course.
Truthfully, I find some authors of modern day to provide great lessons on this Christian path, but I’ve established that those who try too hard to be extremely modern in expression, can also be a bit hard to follow. Deep lessons, to me, offer insightful reflectors, which I’ve deduced, can touch the lives of young and old, should the time be appropriated to read, understand, and apply them. Old English is challenging, but in reason, it is likewise, incredibly beautiful. This is why, from time-to-time, I can’t help but share these sweet elements of Christianity.
So, as we close this July, consider the many things done well. Let us ponder the great providences of our lives. We endeavor to always seek them out, find them, and hold unto them. We must not fret over things beyond our control—this includes the blatant uncaring behaviors of people in our lives or of those who may cross our cherished paths.
Jesus’ specific instructions is:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”-Matthew 22 vv. 36-40
Every bit of this edict is highly dependent on the Ten Commandments. Therefore, it is impossible to love the way Jesus instructed, if the Ten Commandments are not considered in our daily lives. Jesus spoke of this when He added the importance of ‘all the Law and the Prophets.’ Let us think of these things before we are tempted, and, equally, when others hurt us. Forgiveness is an important aspect of following Jesus. However, let’s be careful to protect ourselves from those who continue to hurt and the people who speak of loving each other and then turn away from the invaluable Ten. You know, those who pick-and-choose.
The Ten Commandments is a special guide to all of us. It is the ‘Law’ Jesus professed. We love each other well when we abide by these lessons of the Old Testament. I really can’t see this any other way! Therefore, in understanding, and through consistent prayer, I strive to love well. Won’t you join me?
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Winslow, O. Sermon: He has done things well.