God’s Hedge of Protection

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.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

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.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

[bctt tweet=”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.” username=”SandyKQuandt”]

When We Run Aground

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The other morning a devotion I read in Streams in the Desert said, “You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings.”

The devotion stated God gives us promises then steps back, allows the Tempter to come with a test that seems to contradict everything God promised, and God waits to see how much we believe.

Referencing the apostle Paul’s shipwreck as a prisoner on his way to Rome, the short devotion ended with this statement. “This is the time to look up through the storm, and among the trembling, frightened sailors declare, ‘I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.’ ” (Acts 27:25)

Well. Not being satisfied with relying on my memory of this episode near the end of Paul’s life, I went to Acts chapters 27 and 28. Like Reading Rainbow used to say, “Don’t take my word for it. Read the book yourself.” Or something like that.

The verses in these chapters reminded me of several things I’d like to share with you.

When we go through the struggles and storms of life, our faith tells us one way or the other we’ll get to the other side. Nevertheless, like Paul, before we get on the other side, we’ll  probably run aground on some island. (Acts 27:25-26)

God knows where we’re going to run aground. He knows when and how it will happen. He knows the outcome and how beat up, bruised, and broken we’ll be when we reach it. God also knows that when we give thanks to him in the midst of our storms, we’ll be strengthened to keep on keeping on until the storm ends. (Acts 27:33-36)

After that, daylight comes.

BUT before we reach the calm bay in the distance, we hit a sandbar which destroys our ship. (Acts 27:39-41)

Jumping into the waves and grabbing onto the ship’s broken planks that float by, we finally reach the shore. (Acts 27:44)

Only to be bitten by a viper while gathering firewood. (Acts 28:3)

Seriously?

Onlookers gather around and speculate about what we must have done to displease God so much to deserve all we’ve endured. They wait for us to die from the viper’s venom.

But.

We don’t.

Instead, the viper is thrown into the fire and dies. (Acts 28:4-6)

The best part of all?

God sends encouragers alongside to strengthen us for the next go ’round. Until such a time as God allows the Tempter to show up again, and we face life’s storms once more. (Acts 28:15)

Whether we are in a season where we need to be encouraged, or a season where we are called on to be an encourager, whenever we hit a sandbar and run aground, our Mighty Father is right there with us helping us make it safely to shore. Is that not so?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

So take courage! For I believe God! It will be just as he said! Acts 27:25 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

[bctt tweet=”When we go through the struggles and storms of life, our faith tells us one way or the other we’ll get to the other side. ” username=”SandyKQuandt”]