Thursday, March 30, 2017

He Gives Us More Grace




"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness."
Luke 11:34 NIV 



This branch is from my Flowering Almond bush. It has had its share of suffering and disease. At one point, several years ago, I considered removing the whole bush because it continued to die back and shed more leaves than what it was gaining. But the patient gardener in me decided to give it another chance, and pruned away the dead branches one more time. I would have missed out on these beautiful blooms if I had focused solely on the diseased portion of the plant.



And so it is in my own life. Where are my eyes choosing to focus? Where is the light within them?



This week a friend sent me a song, and because it was a reworking of a hymn that was one of my favorites, I went on a search to find the original. In so doing, as often happens with me, the history of the hymn drew my attention just as much as the song itself. Maybe you have heard of Annie Johnson Flint, poet and hymn writer from the early 1900's? 

Before this search, I had known she lived a life of suffering, and I had known her beautiful work came from a fountain of grace within her.  What I had not known was that her disease was one with which I am well acquainted:
Rhuematoid Arthritis.

But she suffered in the years when there was no relief for pain, and no medicine to halt the crippling effects. Where I might suffer some pain and weakness, and some residual tendon damage,
she suffered the full effects of a horrible disfigurement
and pain beyond compare. As the disease progressed,
she was forced to type out her poems using only her bent knuckles, because her joints had swollen and twisted to a point of uselessness.


What do I know of that kind of uselessness?
How would I have borne that kind of suffering?


In these days of stillness, as the Lord brings fresh convictions to me daily, I know that my heart has so far yet to travel. For you see, Annie Johnson Flint had let the Lord bring the true Light to her eyes.  When the darkness of a cruel disease could have crippled her heart, she chose to let the Light of Christ permeate her soul and body. She chose to let that Light redeem her suffering, and bring forth encouragement that would bless others who were facing darkness.


She chose Acceptance in the Pruning
from her own Master Gardener
and embraced HIS Light 
in the very place of her suffering.


"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him"
Philippians 1:29 NIV 


 He Giveth More Grace

"He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. 


When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun. 


Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.


His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!"


---Annie Johnson Flint


In this Lenten Season, as we pause to meditate on the suffering that our Lord bore for us,
would you join me in prayer?


Dear Lord Jesus,  
I thank you for the suffering
that you bore 
for me.  
I rejoice in the salvation and grace 
that you won 
for me there.
And, now I ask that you would
purify my eyes
to see the light in my days
and the Grace within 
my own suffering.
May I let you bring Joy from Pain
and Beauty from Ashes,
And may the Love you have granted
sink deep into my soul,
body, mind and spirit.
Amen.     











Sadly, the biography of Annie Johnson Flint is out of print. However, if you are interested in reading a short history of her life, and a collection of her beautiful poems, then check out this site:

And to hear Ravi Zacharias speak about Annie's life, here is a short clip:





I am linking today with:
Debbie Kitterman, #TuneInThursday 





16 comments:

  1. Bettie - Patient Gardner? LOL so not something I relate too, I have never had a green thumb and am more of a plant and pray they survive ... but your words struck me and reminded me of my grandmother -she had a knack and patience for all things plants. Also, I haven't heard of this hymn, but its words are powerful and sweet. Lord Jesus thank you for your Grace... and Bettie thanks for sharing your post at #TuneInThursday today

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    1. Dear Debbie,
      Oh I'm glad you had a Grandma who loved growing things! Yes, isn't that Hymn beautiful? I love the new worship songs, but I am still blessed by the older ones which so often contain beautiful words! Blessings to you, Debbie, as you open your "home" for all of us to gather online there!

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  2. This is beautifully crafted. I never heard of Annie. So much grace from such a heart despite RA she remained deeply faithful to the Lord.
    The hymn is lovely too.
    I shared along friend.i hope more people stop by and be encouraged by this.
    Nothing in life should make us give up Jesus. These words i spoke to my daughter. I will keep hitting on this.
    Blessings to you my sweet friend and sister

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    1. Dear Ifeoma,
      I am so thankful you were blessed here--what an encouragement Annie was, as she simply lived out the Grace that God gave to her. And what beautiful words to speak to your daughter, that "Nothing in this life should make us give up Jesus." You are giving her such truth to hold onto! Blessings to you, also, dear friend and sister, & hugs to you across the miles!

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  3. Dear Bettie, I have loved and sung this hymn some years ago, but had forgotten who penned these beautiful, faith stirring words. So I am grateful for the information you have shared and appreciate its poignancy in your own life. Frequently we find struggle produces the fruit of creative expression, often via poetry, and an increasing measure of knowing Jesus in a deeper way.
    I see you in these words: "She chose to let that Light redeem her suffering, and bring forth encouragement that would bless others who were facing darkness." This is what you do, my friend. We can clearly see beauty arising out of the ashes of your painful circumstances, as you share about the hope, grace, love and strength that sustains you every day. It is evident in the beautiful prayer you close with here. Amen to all of it! May it be so, Lord. Blessings, love and hugs. xox

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    1. Dear Joy,
      I am so thankful you were blessed with this hymn and the information concerning it. And, I thank God that you might see even a drop of HIS Grace through these thoughts He asks me to share. I don't understand how He does bring those creative fruits out of our suffering, but He finds a way to redeem it doesn't He? You have been such an amazing blessing to me Dear Friend, as you offer up the ashes of your own suffering for His redemption as well. Oh what a Sweet Savior we have, who carries our Hope for us! Blessings, Love and Hugs to you! xoxo

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  4. Bettie, I remember that song from many years ago. It's really one of my favorites. "His love has no limit; His grace has no measure..." I never knew that about Annie Johnson Flint. She didn't let her illness stop her from sharing her love and trust in God. I second what Joy said, also. You are a blessing to me and many others the way you continue to write and shine for Him.

    Love, hugs and blessings to you my dear friend. :) xoxo

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    1. Dear Gayl,
      Yes, that hymn has been such a blessing in my life from many years ago also! I think the songs that truly touch our hearts come from that well of trials redeemed by Him. Thank you for the way that you always bring such encouragement to me, Dear Friend! And even your daughter has encouraged me so much--I finished her poetry mini-course last night. God finds such beautiful ways to bring us more of Himself, doesn't He? Love, hugs and blessings to you too! xoxo

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  5. Thank you for this analogy and for reminding me of Annie Johnson Flint, Bettie. These lines especially sound so familiar - "For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!" Amen!

    I wholeheartedly agree with Joy about how we can clearly see beauty arising out of the ashes of your painful circumstances as you share the hope, grace, love, and strength that sustain you every day. Thank you so much! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Dear Trudy,
      Oh I am so glad that you were blessed in remembering Annie Johnson Flint! I think you would really like her poetry also. She had such a heart of caring and compassion, traits that I see so strongly in you, my friend! Thank you for the encouragement that you bring here so often! What would we do without the Hope our Lord gives to us? Blessings Love and Hugs to you too! xoxo

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    2. I finally had the time to check out Annie's story more, and it brings tears to my eyes. She and her sister went through so much. I'm so glad they were adopted by a loving couple. It struck me how she also suffered at the hands of Christians who said if she walked obediently she would be healed, but how God showed her the same verse He showed me - that His grace is sufficient. She surely needed that through the years of constant pain. It's amazing she could write so many poems. She wrote one of my favorite poems, and I didn't even realize she was the author - What God Hath Promised. That poem has often strengthened my heart. In fact, I just thought about it again this week. Thank you, Bettie, for making us aware of what Annie endured in her life. God surely has turned her ashes into beauty! Even now today we can benefit from her poems. I saved the link, so I can check out more of her poems sometime. I remember now where I heard that poem - He Giveth More Grace. Many years ago I listened to a tape of a young missionary, Darlene Rose, telling about what she went through and how God was with her. It was that poem that encouraged her and she recited it. The last two lines especially stuck with me. Thank you for acquainting me with the entire poem and its author! Thank you also for your kind and caring words. Yes, what would we do without the Lord's hope? Have a relaxing, hope-filled Sabbath!

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    3. Dear Trudy,
      Oh I am so glad you were able to read more about Annie's life. Her writing is truly such an inspiration to those of us who deal with chronic illness. I also have loved that poem "What God Hath Promised," throughout the years too. How beautiful that the Lord would keep the memory of her words alive in you through so many years, spoken by a young missionary! I will have flashes of memory like that happen to me also, and I often wonder if those dear saints realized at the time, what a lasting effect their words were having on a young quiet teenager. And, what amazing "reunions" we will have in Heaven as we meet with those who inspired us to keep walking with Jesus. Thank you for your inspiration, also, Dear Friend! I pray for many blessings to you this weekend. xoxo

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  6. Oh, dear friend! That poem is so beautiful! I remember reading that a long time ago, but it is so precious to see it shared here again today. I so appreciate you and your gentle spirit and the encouragement you continually provide to all of us. May God just bless you over and over again!

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    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Yes, isn't that song a gift from the Lord? I am so thankful that He meets us right where we are, and gives us Himself and His abundant Grace! Thank you for your encouragement also, dear friend. Your words are such a blessing to my heart. Hugs and Love to you!

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  7. He gives and gives and gives again. More grace. Your writing inspires me. xo

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    1. Dear Susan,
      I am so thankful that you found inspiration here! God gives us so much--oh may I have eyes to see more clearly! Blessings to you!

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