Glance at His Glory

Each day has its own worries, so said our LORD Jesus Christ. But each day is not to be consumed by those worries–and as you grow in Christlikeness, you will experience what Jesus described in His “sermon on the mount,” namely the blessed life. Though you have worries, you also have the ear of One who hears your every prayer, every thought, every groan; and you have the assurance that He acts on your behalf–keeping you, strengthening you, helping you, abiding in you, and working all things together for the good of your soul.

He hears, He acts, He is with you, He is at work in you–both to will and to do (making you willing to walk with Him as you see more of HIs glory!). And though in this world we have tribulations, and though in this world if you are truly a disciple you will face persecution and difficulties; yet your inner man is being renewed daily–and His promises will hold true.

The Scriptures speak of these timeless truths often and in many ways. And the Spirit has given the church many who will be pastors and teachers so as to build us up in our faith and knowledge while we watch and wait for His return.

We need Poets

And some of those teachers are also poets, not only teaching beautiful truths, but teaching those truths in beautiful forms. Our imaginations need to be stretched and enjoyed. The poet can help us cling to Christ as he challenges us to have a sanctified imagination, living life in wonder and awe (rather than in a rut that says only what I see right before my eyes is real).

I do not remember who first mentioned Ralph Erskine’s poetry to me, but as is my custom, I had to find a copy of my very own. To one who loves the WORD, these words are like balm, presenting truth in metaphors that draw you in to really bask in the truth, and realize how much you love His Word. His book sits in my collection of poetry and nature and other favorite books that I pick up throughout any given week at random.

Two years ago, my pastor recommended reading a biography of John G. Paton; and in the first chapter or two he details his years growing up in Scotland. He tells of his parents meeting and falling in love; his dad having memorized and beautifully recited lines from the Gospel Sonnets to his mom. This drew me to want to find a passage or two to hide in my own heart.

As a homeschool mama, I make my ‘students’ memorize a few poems each year. Beauty is good for the soul. We find ways to make our recital times fun: with friends at the park, in a local garden, over a cup of tea with scones, etc. So I made my selections. I am sharing one with you here because it has come back to me time and again not just as a beautiful thing to ponder, but as something that girds me up for daily battles. (We are at war, Ephesians 6:10ff).

Just as I memorize scripture, so with poetry–I write it out on a scrap of paper and keep it in my pocket. When I finish a task, take it out and read it, put it back. As I stroll around the yard with my dog, read it and put it back. Taking a coffee break? Read it. Waiting in line somewhere? Read it. Eventually, you can recall it, and delight in its beauty and goodness.

While the author, Ralph Erskine, tells you every now and then a Scripture that teaches what he is writing about, he tells you in the preface that it is the readers job to enjoy the metaphors and recall all the Scriptures it is founded upon. So to one who already delights in and remains in His words (see John 8:31-43) these metaphors will help you delight in Scripture all the more, even applying it more faithfully to those areas of your heart that are in need of His grace. One thing I appreciate about this bit is how it calls us to cease from striving and to rest in His work; I only need to glance at His glory!

In Section II, pages 28-29:

The Captain’s ruddy banner, lifted high, 

Makes hell retire, and all the furies fly.

Yea, of his glory ev’ry recent glance

Makes sin decay, and holiness advance.

In kindness therefore does her heav’nly Lord

Renew’d discov’ries of His love afford,

That her enamour’d soul may with the view

Be cast into His holy mould anew:

For when He manifests His glorious grace, 

The charming favour of His smiling face,

Into His image fair transforms her soul,

And wafts her upward to the heav’nly pole,

From glory unto glory by degrees…

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