There was a man in a land that was not Luz. And the Lord, looking upon the man, saw Satan approaching.
And the Lord said unto Satan, “Whence comest thou?” Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, “From wandering in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
And the Lord said, “Consider this man. He has often fallen short, and oft stumbled. Yet he has always put his trust in me, and never denied me.”
“Of course he does!”, replied the Devil. “Does he trust you for naught? You have given him so many assurances of what is to come: of his purpose and meaning, of hopes of love and marriage and family, of your own care for him. Even if he finds them hard to believe, you give him comfort about what is to come, and he knows you can and have told him of these things. Remove them from him, strip him of his hopes and assurances, give him doubt that he can or has ever heard your will, rob him of any knowledge of your love and he will deny you to your face.”
“Behold, he is in thine hand”, said the Lord.
And the man was plunged into thick confusion. He no longer knew whether he could tell the difference between an impression from God and his own thoughts, desires and fears. He no longer knew if he could trust the assurances he had relied on. He feared his labours had been in vain, and that he had spent ten years following a false path. He feared he could not correctly hear the answers to his prayers and that he had been falsely guided, decieved by the devil or his own thoughts. He worried that he was a failure, and that even God misliked him.
And the man was grieved at heart and vexed in spirit. He wished for death, and his mind put forth designs for it. But he prayed unto the Lord:
“Lord, I do not know thy will and I am sick at heart. Please save me from despair, for I am alone! Lord, I know that thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie. I know that thou hast all power, and can tell me of thy will. I know that thou knowest all things, things past and things to come, and so can guide me right. Please guide me now, and help me to know what is true and not be deceived.”
And the man remained despondant and low in spirit. He feared he could not trust any answers for he knew not where it came from. Yet he continued to pray:
“But may thy will be done. For I know that whatever thou willest – even if it be my ill – is right.”
Thus it was that the Devil was confounded, and the Lord was vindicated, and in time the Lord gave the man peace and clarity.
Every man has at least one master; The question is which master we choose to obey.
My Lord and my God,
thy mercies are above all,
thy blessings more than I can count.
I felt alone,
I felt in darkness,
I was struck
and my heart lay wounded,
assailed by bitter memories.
Yet thou hast blessed me,
and lifted me up!
Though I felt fallen,
thou hast pushed me up!
For thou hast shown me marvellous things,
things too great for me to consider.
Thou hast been merciful unto me,
and taught me in the precincts of thy holy house,
even hidden things at which I marvel.
How can I thank thee enough?
How can I praise thee for thy mighty works?
Thou hast seen thy lowly servant in his trials,
and given him knowledge.
Thou hast blessed me,
and comforted my soul.
Thou hast consoled me with precious truths
and not left me to wander by the pools of melancholy.
My heart still aches,
and my wounds are sore,
but I know that thou wilt bind them up,
that thou wilt heal me and cause me to rejoice.
For I did not err or fail in these things,
and thou guidest my feet.
Yea, I will rejoice, My Lord,
at the grace that thou hast poured upon me,
and I know that thou art with me.
My heart cannot contain,
nor can my words express,
my joy and gratitude at thy loving mercy.
yet now I rejoice.
I cried in despair,
yet now I sing in exultation!
For who can gainsay the word of the Lord,
or argue with his secret counsel?
He that is wonderful
has shown me wonderful things!
He has had compassion
and comforted me,
and raised the cup of healing to my lips.
And though I still hurt,
I know that thou has blessed me.
Thou wilt heal me and guide me,
and will lift me up.
I thank thee and praise thee.
Good are thy ways, O Lord,
though they defy the understanding of man.
Bless me, I pray,
as thou hast done.
Make me to serve thee,
and grant me the grace to perform all thy will,
and bless me with all that thou hast promised,
in thy due time and according to thy will.
O Lord My God,
I shall praise thee in the morning
and in the evening.
I shall praise thee amongst hope
and amongst the blackest shoals of despair.
I am encompassed round about,
I am assailed on all sides,
yet I shall praise thee
for I know that thou art over all,
and orderest all things for our good.
Deliver me, O Lord,
from my afflictions and my enemies.
I know not what to do,
or where to go,
and feel beyond hope,
yet I know that thou wilt aid those without aid.
Thou art the final refuge,
and a sure redoubt,
against all the efforts of the enemy
and against all failings of the heart.
O Lord I desire to serve thee,
and greatly desire to do thy will.
Yet I stumble,
and fail thee,
and much is beyond my power.
Forgive thou my weaknesses,
and grant me strength to accomplish all that thou dost desire
and to become all that thou wouldst.
I am alone,
and my strength faileth.
My heart aches,
and I see no succor.
Yet I know that thy hand is mighty.
Help me, I pray thee.
Comfort my soul,
and ease my pains.
Make me to see thy aid
and that of thy servants,
that I might praise thee
and acknowledge all thy goodness,
and pour out thy comforting spirit upon me
and grant me thy peace.
Make me to serve thee,
and to dwell in thy rest,
and grant me thy hope
in all the blessings that thou hast promised.