- Pastoral Staff
How Firm A Foundation 2
Last week I shared some thoughts I got from the first two verses of the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation”*. This week I would like to share some thoughts from the third and fourth verses.
"When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow; for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress."
This verse reminds me of the promise we find in Romans 8:28—“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God does not promise that we will not face sorrow but He does promise that He will not allow us to be tested above what we can bear; that He will be with us through the tests and He will incorporate whatever we experience into His plan for our life so that it all comes out for our good.
Verse four: "When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine."
This verse reminds me of the promise we find in 2 Corinthians 12:9--But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” This verse of the song also reminds us that sometimes the trials we face are designed by God to purify us. As humans sometimes we let things build up in our lives; we let things become too important to us and God has to put us through a trial to put things into perspective and to help us get our priorities straight. It also assures us again that God is there to make sure we are not consumed by our trials, even though sometimes it feels as if we will be.
In light of the words of this song and trials, I would like to address the idea that “God has a reason” for whatever we experience. I do not believe that. I do believe as I said that sometimes God puts us through difficult situations “for a reason”. I also believe that sometimes we go through difficult times because of sin. Sometimes we experience difficult situations because of our own poor/sinful choices. Sometimes we experience difficult situations because of the poor/ sinful choices of others. Sometimes we experience difficult situations because sin is in the world and it causes diseases and natural disasters that God did not intend but happen as a result of the disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
Regardless of the source of our difficult situations, we still have the promise that if we love God and are obedient to Him, He will make every situation work for our good. Rest on the foundation that a gracious, loving God is in control of this world and our lives and He will never leave us nor forsake us.
*As far as I could find, this hymn first appeared in a hymnal printed in 1787. The only note concerning the author is “K” and no one seems to know who “K” was.