Dear Friends,

At the last Ladies Fellowship meeting one of the people we were talking about was Fanny J Crosby, the great hymn writer.  She is credited with writing more than 8000 hymns and sacred songs, which for someone who was blind from childhood is an incredible achievement.  Although many of these are no longer part of modern church services, thankfully we do still sing some of her beautiful hymns.  One of the most familiar is ‘Blessed Assurance’, a much loved hymn which encourages us to praise the Lord at all times. The chorus says “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long;”  Quite a challenging idea, as sometimes when life is difficult, praise is the last thing on our minds. 

We do not always understand why we have to go through times of pain or hardship, even though we might spend much time in prayer, asking for deliverance from whatever is affecting our lives. It is only in hindsight that we can look back and see how the Lord has helped us through these times, and that it has been for a greater purpose.  Steven read from Isaiah 56 in the call to worship at the beginning of his service on the 16th July.  It explains in verse 9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (declares the Lord )”  The Lord can see the complete picture while we only see what affects our own lives.  We are sometimes called to go through testing times for reasons we don’t understand, even afterwards. But quite often it equips us to be of help to someone else facing the same difficulties.

Many people have written about such situations, and how praising the Lord has lifted them from despair into peace.  A prayer written by Corrie Ten Boom says, “Lord, what a joy that we may come to you with all our troubles, We cannot find peace by ourselves. Thank you that you are willing to listen and that your telephone line is never ‘busy’.”

May you be richly blessed as you lift your praises to the Lord.