Spiritual Windows . . . .

Although it is the smallest room in our home–long and narrow, with windows lining two sides–our den has always been my favorite room in our home.  It is a wonderful place to observe squirrels running and birds of all sorts swooping between the trees and feeders in our backyard.  I especially love watching the first snow of the season quietly sift down and the contrasting scarlet beauty of cardinals against the sparkling whiteness–it leaves me breathless every single time.  Best of all, our den has been a quiet place to reflect, read, write or to spend time with a friend.

Windows change everything . . . .
Windows change everything . . . .

But what if there were no windows in that room?  Would the den have the same appeal? Humanly, I tend to think not . . . especially as I peruse a small bird book left by the previous owners of our home.  In that book, the visits of unusual birds sighted through our den windows have been recorded since the 1950’s.  Over the thirty years we have lived here, our family has excitedly added to that little book, our own sightings of various rare visitors.

Yet, I am challenged by the wisdom of John Newton*, who wrote about windows and light from a spiritual perspective more than two hundred years ago:

“All houses from the king’s to the laborer’s,
however they differ to other circumstances, agree in this:
that they must have windows whereby they may receive the light.
A palace without a window would be little better than a dungeon;
and a man would almost think himself buried alive in it.
Many splendid houses are dungeons with respect to spiritual light.
A believer would not bear the thoughts of living in any situation,
unless he enjoyed the light of the Sun of Righteousness,
and with this any situation is tolerable.”
(From Letters of Newton, pg. 138)

Where we tend to think about windows and light from a purely surface perspective, Newton urges us to go deeper by thinking in spiritual realities.

Indeed, apart from the blessing of a faith that sees beyond the immediate to the eternal,we are all short-sighted as to recognizing the blessings being worked out by God in this day of uncertainty.

 The Apostle Paul knew this when he wrote his second letter to his friends in Corinth:

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
made His light shine in our hearts
to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory
displayed in the face of Christ. . . .

Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Now comes what is the “to do” part of opening up those spiritual windows:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

II Corinthians 4:6, 15-18

There have been seasons when I have looked out our den windows and saw nothing but a dark hopelessness because of the heaviness of my heart–perhaps you have been there too?  Indeed, in such times when Christ seems furthest away, we all experience that spiritual dungeon Newton referred to in his letter.  Yet is has been during such times of despair, when I have opened my Bible–determined to focus not on my despair but on His Face–that the spiritual light and comfort of hope have ultimately prevailed.  It has been during such seasons that our den has provided,

  • A shelter to prayerfully confront the various storms that have threatened
  • It has served as a place to receive comfort and ultimate healing as God’s light has strengthened me in my brokenness.

Best of all, our den has been a place of celebration, as God’s Divine Will has been worked out though those storms, to draw me and those I love closer to Him.

Having suffered through the perils of facing cancer among family and friends during the past year, and still suffering the loss of several of them, I was grateful for John Newton’s wisdom as it opened up the windows of my mind and heart to appreciate the spiritual realities of  God’s Sovereign Goodness.  The good news is that you do not need a special room to open the windows of your mind and heart.  The light and hope found only through faith in Jesus, will open wide those spiritual windows as you determine to trust in Him.

Romans 15:13 is one of those windows in Scripture that saved me out of a season of darkness and fear; I pray that it will do the same for you:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

All to His Glory!

*John Newton, author of the classic hymn, “Amazing Grace” wrote his letter in 1774.

Did God Create Sin?

“If God is the Creator of everything, did God create sin?”  It is a question many ask, especially when they are hurting.    When faced with such questions my mind turns to the testimony of John the apostle (I John 1:1,2 & 5):

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes . . . and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us . . .This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you:
God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.

John’s passionate testimony is certainly credible.  Having followed Jesus for three years–sharing meals, watching crowds and individuals ebb and flow around Him, listening as He taught them privately as well as collectively, running to keep up with the pace such a ministry entailed–the youngest of the apostles took it all in.  It is recorded that of the twelve, only John was there at the foot of the Cross when Jesus died and it was John who was entrusted with the care of Jesus’ mother.   John surveyed the empty tomb and witnessed the ascension of Christ into heaven.  Having seen so much, John’s assessment of who Jesus was boiled down to this:

God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.

I do not pretend to be any sort of theologian, but my faith tells me that if God is light and there is no trace of darkness in Him“at all,” then most certainly there is no place for sin to reside with God’s Holiness. 

Much of what we do in the Counseling Room is sort out truth from lies, light from darkness and facts from feelings with the help of the Scriptures.  My primary goal in helping any Client is to build up their confidence in the Sovereign Goodness of God–to firmly establish a place for them to stand. Much of building their confidence in God is in helping them to recognize God’s voice as their Shepherd by digging into the Scriptures.  Here are some favorite “go to’s” we have come to savor regarding God’s Sovereign Goodness:

Psalm 139:7-12

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.

I John 1:7

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

Psalm 104:1-3

Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind…

Isaiah 30:15,16 & 18

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Having dwelled in the depths of despair at various times in my life, I can attest to the veracity of God’s Sovereign Goodness.  What I have come to appreciate during those times, is that no matter how “dark” my life may seem, it would be so much darker without the presence of God’s Light to keep me on His path.  If you are in such a time, give thanks to God for the Light of His Presence.  Is it enough?  You bet it is!

My Dear Readers, 
What are some favorite Scriptures that have strengthened you with the assurance of His Sovereign Goodness?  Is God the Creator of evil?  I would truly love to hear from you!

All to His Glory!