August 24, 2012
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Today an old gospel song “Farther Along” comes to mind. It has this poignant line expressing “Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer.” Well in truth when I am in the midst of a trial I wonder this more than sometimes!
Last Sunday our pastor, John Keefer, preached a sermon on trials. These types of messages tend to pull on the heart strings and following the service Brooksyne had a time of ministry with a friend who has been going through a long painful trial. As they departed Brooksyne gave her a comforting hug as she also prayed with her. It would have made a great photo for a theme we shared Tuesday on ordinary Christians demonstrating the love of Christ, but it was just too personal.
The daily Scripture portion presents a vital perspective on trials. The last portion is a simple truth all of us, even a young child, can attest to: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.”
The context draws a parallel between the discipline of a loving earthly father and that of our loving heavenly Father. Among the clear Biblical mandates for a father is the discipline of his children. Our heavenly Father also disciplines His children and we know at times His discipline (not to be confused with punishment) may certainly not be pleasant and may indeed be painful.
A tremendous truth that we do well to settle deep in our hearts is that “God disciplines us for our good.” One of Pastor’s points dealt with God’s sovereignty in our trials and the aspect which we know deep in our hearts to be true; that God is good and has our best interests in mind.
There is a promised consequence to God’s discipline in trials: “Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Especially note the two words “later on”. “Later on” is unspecific as to the timing and this is what makes it so very hard. So many of us are waiting for that “later on” to take place in our life, not knowing when it will take place. But God’s Word is sure and His promises are steadfast. “God disciplines us for our good.”
Some of you are in the very midst of a discipline that is by no means pleasant. In fact it may be very painful. Perhaps you’ve been let down and disappointed. You just can’t figure out what God is up to in your life. You may even feel forsaken. And at this time you don’t have any idea how your situation will ever work out. (I’ve experienced all the above).
Consider those words “later on” and the wonderful promise of God that follows. Let it minister to your heart and fill you with hope and encouragement as you diligently wait for that most certain “later on” that will come to pass. Indeed,
farther along we’ll understand why.
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.”
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we live in a world where “waiting” seems almost inconceivable for everyday needs. Because of marvelous technological breakthroughs we get instant mail, same day deliveries, immediate test results, meals in two minutes, and the list goes on and on. But, Lord, You work in our lives day after day, year after year and season upon season. Father, You are developing fruit in our lives as we are in the waiting process. We’ve seen faithfulness, self-control, endurance, patience and other fruit grow in our spiritual walk as we endure the rod of discipline. May it bring about the peaceful fruit of righteousness that is a result of our sharing in Your holiness as we undergo discipline. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
“A Story of Eternal Perspective” is one of the most remarkable testimonies I have ever read concerning this topic of “Farther Along”. This version is on Randy Alcorn’s blog.
Brooksyne just processed 7 & 1/2 dozen ears of corn for freezing and I asked her to share the process for any who may be interested but are unfamiliar with the process. We began with a large batch of freshly picked corn from a friend’s farm. I had the rather inglorious, laborious, inauspicious job of shucking it outside in the hot sun! (Brooksyne’s edit begins here: Beware, alert readers, that Stephen wrote the description of his labor, not me.)
Some of the ears of corn Stephen shucked
The corn must be blanched (boiled in hot water) 5 minutes. (Five minutes for 2″ diameter corn though canning books vary on amount of boiling time. All agree that boiling time starts after ears have been dropped in water and boiling restarts.
Corn is then bagged. I found a neat bag holding gadget while traveling in Indiana that holds plastic bags open for filling. It adjusts for various sizes and is a great help when you need more than two hands – well worth the modest $3.00 I paid for a handy canning/freezing tool.
Da Da! 55 bags of corn (2 Cups in each sandwich bag. I then stuff 4 of the filled sandwich bags into 1 gallon freezer bags.) That’s one vegetable serving per week over the next year for our small family. Corn is one vegetable that is superb in flavor when processed at home compared to canned corn or frozen corn in the grocery aisle.
Another version by Legacy Five Video
Another version by the Heritage Singers! Video
The lyrics to the song were written in 1911 by Rev. W.A. Fletcher, an itinerant preacher, while he was travelling to the Indian Territories by train. Fletcher was feeling depressed because his wife was expecting their first-born child in a few weeks and he wouldn’t be present for the occasion. He felt that his priorities were with his ministry in the Indian Territories and wrote the lyrics to reflect his frame of mind at the time. Sitting next to him on the train was J. R. Baxter, a gospel music promoter who was quite taken with the lyrics that Fletcher was writing and offered him $2.00 for them. Mr. Baxter subsequently had them put to music and the song has been quite popular in the gospel music arena ever since. The song deals with a Christian’s dismay at the apparent prosperity of the wicked, when contrasted with the suffering of the righteous. The repeated theme is that, in Heaven, the truth will be revealed.
Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.
Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer,
Go in the rain, the cold, and the snow,
When there are many living in comfort,
Giving no heed to all I can do.
Tempted and tried, how often we question
Why we must suffer year after year,
Being accused by those of our loved ones,
E’en though we’ve walked in God’s holy fear.
Often when death has taken our loved ones,
Leaving our home so lone and so drear,
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.
“Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master;
Short is our time to labor and wait;
Then will our toiling seem to be nothing,
When we shall pass the heavenly gate.
Soon we will see our dear, loving Savior,
Hear the last trumpet sound through the sky;
Then we will meet those gone on before us,
Then we shall know and understand why.
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