Compared to you

1. Lord,
Compared to you
We’re drops of rain;

2. Stars in the sky;
Fragments of sand,
Or dust.

3. And yet,
Your word is true:
You share our pain,

4. Hearing each sigh,
Holding each hand –
We trust.

References

1. “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One (Isaiah 40:25; NLT).

God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! (Isaiah 40:22; NLT).

2. He knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust (Psalm 103:14; NLT).

3. Every word of God proves true (Proverbs 30:5; NLT).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

4. You hear my every sigh (Psalm 38:9; NLT).

I hold you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God (Isaiah 41:13; NLT).

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

Thank you for your fire

1. Thank you for your fire, Lord,
In my life;
My fears and failures;
All I have attained.

2. Thank you for your truth, Lord,
In my mind;
My pain and loss;
The wisdom I have gained.

3. Thank you for your peace, Lord,
In my heart;
My faith and hope;
The trust I place in you.

4. Thank you for your love, Lord,
In my soul;
My help in all I think,
And say, and do.

References

1. God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV).

2. The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

3. The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT).

4. God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

Lent for life

1. Thank you for my body, Lord,
Lent by you, for life –
For all the pain and stress
It undergoes.

2. Thank you for my mind, Lord,
Lent by you, for life –
For all that’s shaped it,
Everything it knows.

3. Thank you for my heart, Lord,
Lent by you for life –
For all the love it’s given
And received.

4. Thank you for my soul, Lord,
For this alone is ‘me’
From long before my body
Was conceived.

References

1. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

4. I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5; NLT).

Ash Wednesday 2019

On Ash Wednesday 2019, I had a very unusual experience. I’d been unwell with a virus for several days, although I had still been able to potter around the house.

At about 9.30 in the morning that day, I was suddenly overtaken by a sharp, stabbing pain in my right side, just below the ribcage. It came again and again, with growing intensity, until, within a minute or two, it was continuous, and I couldn’t speak or move. My breathing became very shallow, and my lips, face, hands and arms began to tingle.

My husband immediately phoned for an ambulance, whilst I wailed and panted like an animal. I wasn’t afraid, just utterly overwhelmed by the intensity of the pain. I was sitting down, bent over the kitchen table, with my head turned to one side, so I could see the shopping bag he put beside me, into which he was quickly throwing everything I might need in hospital. I was fully aware that I could be dying, and saw how my soul would simply slip away, leaving behind the bag, my husband, the room, and everything I had ever imagined would make me happy.

The ambulance arrived quickly, and the staff were wonderful. They helped me to slow my breathing, and ran through various tests. All my vital signs were completely normal, although my pulse and respiration rates had been very high when they first arrived.

Gradually, the pain retreated, and I could speak again. They said it was a panic attack, but this didn’t ring true for me at all, as I have had countless panic attacks, and none of them in any way resembled what happened that day. After some discussion, we all agreed I could stay at home, as long as I saw my doctor in the afternoon.

The GP diagnosed an acute attack of pleurodynia (also known as Bornholm Syndrome, or Devil’s Grip), a chronic condition I have had for the last 25 years. Acute attacks are generally triggered by respiratory infections. However, even at its very worst, it has never remotely resembled what happened that morning. A second doctor thought it sounded more like a pleural rub, highly characteristic of pleurisy.

After two weeks of rest, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and steroids, I’m slowly starting to resume my normal activities. However, a troubling question persists at the back of my mind, though I hardly dare express it. The strange attack, which lasted three hours, felt exactly as if I were experiencing the moment when the spear pierced Christ’s side to ensure he was dead. So, was it a symptom of a physical illness, a spiritual experience, or perhaps a combination of both?

References

The soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out (John 19:32-4; NLT).

If we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT).

Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often (Luke 2:19; NLT).

My small soul

1. In death, I’ll quit this body,
My mind and heart, Lord, too,
But my small soul will still be strong
For it will merge with you.

2. In death, I’ll quit this body,
With all its scars and pain,
But my small soul will rest in you,
When we unite again.

References

1. March on with courage, my soul! (Judges 5:21; NLT).

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

2. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body (Psalm 38:7; NLT).

Return, O my soul, to your rest (Psalm 116:7: ESV).

You have blessed my life

Give thanks in all circumstances
(1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).

1. Father,
You have blessed my life
With hardship and abuse;
You’ve given me so much to learn:
Lord, thank you for each truth.

2. Father,
You have blessed my life
With suffering and pain;
You’ve given me so much to learn:
Lord, thank you for each gain.

3. Father,
You have blessed my life
With sorrow, grief and loss;
You’ve given me so much to learn:
Lord, thank you for each cross.

4. Father,
You have blessed my life
With guilt, regret, and shame;
You’ve given me so much to learn:
I praise your glorious name.

References

1. God has seen your abuse (Genesis 31:42; NLT).

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you (Psalm 25:5; NLT).

2. You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and life me up from the depths of the earth (Psalm 71:20; NLT).

3. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21; NIV).

4. I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me (Psalm 51:3; NIV).

O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! (1 Chronicles 29:13; NLT).

Love is all

1. Father God,
I melt into your strength,
Where there is neither weakness,
Fear, nor pain.

2. Father God,
I melt into your mind,
Where there is neither striving,
Sin, nor stain.

3. Father God,
I melt into your heart,
Where there is neither hatred,
Guilt, nor gall.

4. Father God,
I melt into your soul,
Where we are one in love,
And love is all.

References

1. The Lord is glorious and strong (1 Chronicles 16:28; NLT).

2. The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NIV).

3. God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

4. All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).