Paul is our grandson. He was born with an encephalocele. There are some who think that children like this should be aborted while still in the womb. We know that God gave life, every life, for a divine purpose. Our daughter, Sarah, went through a radical cesarean section to give him the best chance of life she could. It was the most difficult time that she and her husband, Ryan, have ever experienced. The Lord let us know him for almost two years. Today marks two years that he has been in Heaven. His blind little eyes have enjoyed the greatest wonders of all time and eternity. Although we miss him very much, there are many things that the Lord gave us while he was here and even after his death. I thought the reading this morning in "Streams In The Desert" very appropriate for the day. I wanted to share it with you.
"For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble ..., that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
"Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intensely it seems, beyond strength;
Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure by foes, and a pressure from friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.
"Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things.
Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured."
The pressure of hard places makes us value life. Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much it is worth, and make more of it for God and man. The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them.
There is a shallow, superficial nature, that gets hold of a theory or a promise lightly, and talks very glibly about the distrust of those who shrink from every trial; but the man or woman who has suffered much never does this, but is very tender and gentle, and knows what suffering really means. This is what Paul meant when he said, "Death worketh in you."
Trials and hard places are needed to press us forward, even as the furnace fires in the hold of that mighty ship give force that moves the piston, drives the engine, and propels that great vessel across the sea in the face of the winds and waves. --A. B. Simpson
"Out of the presses of pain,
Cometh the soul's best wine;
And the eyes that have shed no rain,
Can shed but little shine."
This song, though written about a little girl, reminds me of Paul.
"In God's Hands" by the Rochesters