Living for Jesus Through The School of Suffering
As we open to Psalm 119:71, we as a nation are in the midst of one of the most challenging times American's have faced for over a generation. But as bad as it may seem, think about how hard life was here in the USA in 1917.
That year, World War I was sapping the finances, wearing down the resolve, and destroying the young men of this nation. In the midst of all that, there was no government security for the sick or unemployed.
People only lived on what they could make and scrape out on their farms or in the cities. Even the churches were struggling. So much so, that one church in Kentucky couldn't afford to keep their pastor as a paid staff member any longer.
I wonder what Pastor Thomas Obadiah Chisholm thought of Psalm 119:71, after he got word that because of his failing health, he would no longer get any financial support from his church congregation he had served as pastor for many years.
Psalm 119:71 "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes."
In our darkest hour, deepest pain, hardest times, most hopeless situations—we know that our God who is faithful is CLOSER at those moments, than any other time.
In 1917 that 51 year-old pastor named Thomas Obadiah Chisholm had to leave the paid, vocational ministry for health reasons. Life was hard, and jobs were so scarce he had to support his family selling door-to-door in Kentucky. But he did so humming the words of a personal resolve he had written.
What was his plan for facing physical and emotional afflictions in a cold and cruel world with the harsh realities of dashed hopes, failing health, declining finances, and limited strength? His testimony is in our hymnbook, "Living for Jesus".
Living for Jesus a life that is true, striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance glad hearted and free, this is the pathway of blessing for me.
Oh Jesus Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee, for Thou in Thine atonement didst give Thyself for me; I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy Throne; my life I give henceforth to live—Oh Christ for Thee alone!
Like Thomas Chisholm learned, as he trudged out into dark mornings, and through long wearying days, God didn't take away the troubles, He went through them with us. God was with him all during his long days, short nights, empty cupboards, non-existent savings. All those troubles were his, but one thing never changed—God was always faithfully the same.
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