by Sandy Kirby Quandt
A devotion I recently read in Streams in the Desert looked at God’s hedge of protection in a way I’d not considered before. Perhaps the thought will be a different way for you to think of God’s protection, as well.
In Mrs. Charles E. Cowman’s poem about the hawthorn hedge she points out although we may not always see the hedge’s thorns, they are always present. They become visible in winter and are covered in spring.
As I reflected on the devotion, but most especially on Mrs. Cowman’s poem, I realized we live our lives in seasons, do we not? There are seasons where the soft leaves of God’s hedge of protection shield us. There are also seasons where those same leaves fall, and the thorns of life protrude.
Regardless of the season we may be in at any point in time, leaves or no leaves, God’s hedge remains.
Nothing surprises the All-knowing God. He knows where the thorns in our lives are and he knows when they prick us. Whether the thorns are illness, unkind words, job uncertainty, betrayal, financial struggles, relationship problems, God knows.
And when we are pricked, he stands right there beside us comforting us until the soft leaves cover the thorns once again.
If you are in a season of thorns, I pray the soft leaves of God’s hedge will burst forth soon.
The hawthorn hedge that keeps us from intruding,
Looks very fierce and bare
When stripped by winter, every branch protruding
Its thorns that would wound and tear.
But spring-time comes; and like the rod that budded,
Each twig breaks out in green;
And cushions soft of tender leaves are studded,
Where spines alone were seen,
The sorrows, that to us seem so perplexing,
Are mercies kindly sent
To guard our wayward souls from sadder vexing,
And greater ills prevent.
To save us from the pit, no screen of roses
Would serve for our defense,
The hindrance that completely interposes
Stings back like thorny fence.
At first when smarting from the shock, complaining
Of wounds that freely bleed,
God’s hedges of severity us paining,
May seem severe indeed.
But afterwards, God’s blessed spring-time cometh,
And bitter murmurs cease;
The sharp severity that pierced us bloometh,
And yields the fruits of peace.
Then let us sing, our guarded way thus wending
Life’s hidden snares among,
Of mercy and of judgment sweetly blending;
Earth’s sad, but lovely song.”
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
I don’t know about you, but I believe the sentiment in this poem well worth remembering.
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The Weymouth Bible translates James 1:2 as “whenever you find yourself hedged in by various trials.”
The Hawai’i Pidgin Bible translates James 1:2-3 this way.
You Like Know Wat Fo Do? Trus God!
My bruddas an sistas! Feel real good inside everytime you feel like you get hard time fo do wat God like you guys do. Cuz you know, afta you guys go thru all dat real hard time, an you guys still yet trus God, den dat goin make you guys hang in dea mo betta. James 1:2-3 (Hawai’I Pidgin)
I wish you well.
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