Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"  (Acts 20:35. ESV.)

As I continue learning about a mighty man of God, William Wilberforce, I cannot help but wonder if Wilberforce ever felt unequally yoked in his marriage.  In the Hollywood version of his life, his wife, Barbara, is portrayed as a handsome match, perfect (of course) in every way.  Infact, there is even a scene where they cannot find a single thing about which they disagree.  Piper, however, gives a slightly different glimpse into their relationship and dynamics.  He stated,
"Wilberforce and his wife Barbara were very different.  'While he was always cheerful, Barbara was often depressed and pessimistic.  She finally worried herself into very bad health which lasted the rest of her life.'"  (pg. 51.)

Peers spoke well of Wilberforce saying such things as,
"I never saw any other man who seemed to enjoy such a perpetual serenity and sunshine of spirit.  In conversing with him, you feel assured that there is no guile in him; that If ever there was a good man and happy man on earth, he was one." (Robert Southy.  Pg.58.)

And, "Though shattered in constitution and feeble in body he is as lively and animated as in the days of his youth." (Dorothy Wordsworth.  Pg.58.)

Joseph John Gurney, a Quaker, stayed a week with Wilberforce and recalled later, 'As he walked about the house he was generally humming the tune of a hymn or Psalm as if he could not contain his pleasurable feelings of thankfulness and devotion.'"

I do not blame him.  I LOVE hymns!  I especially adore the ones we used to sing in church when I was young.  I wish we sang more of them in worship service now days but sadly they have fallen by the wayside and have been replaced by more contemporary tunes.

When struggling with his own sin of fear, etc. he wrote the following in his "notebook of prayers",
"Lord, thou knowest that no strength, wisdom or contrivance of human power can signify, or relieve me.  It is in thy power alone to deliver me.  I fly to thee for succor and support, O Lord let it come speedily; give me full proof of thy Almighty power; I am in great troubles, insurmountable by me; but to thee slight and inconsiderable; look upon me O Lord with compassion and mercy, and restore me to rest, quietness, and comfort, in the world, or in another by removing me hence into a state of peace and happiness.  Amen.

Further, Wilberforce "counseled his readers to",
"rise on the wings of contemplation, until the praises and censures of men die away upon the ear, and the still small voice of conscience is no longer drowned by the din of this nether world." (pg.68.)

Guess I'll have to read Wilberforce's A PRACTICAL VIEW OF CHRISTIANITY.

10 Then he said to them, "Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  (Nehemiah 8:10. ESV.)
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