“In the northwest corner of Harvard Yard stands a building as massive as the man whose name it bears. At six feet, four inches and nearly three hundred pounds, Phillips Brooks, A. B. 1855, S. T. D. 1877, was an outstanding figure of Harvard’s Victorian age.,” reads the Harvard Magazine.[i] It goes on to say, “What was the secret of this man’s remarkable life and influence? Brooks wrote in 1891, ‘…These last years have had a peace and fullness which there did not use to be. I am sure that it is not indifference to anything I used to care for. I am sure that it is a deeper knowledge and truer love of Christ…I cannot tell you how personal this grows to me. He is here. He knows me and I know Him. It is no figure of speech. It is the realest thing in the world. And every day makes it realer.’”
A pensive clergyman and author, Brooks experienced a depth of faith through the struggles of life. He wrote, “I often hear people praying for more faith, but when I listen carefully to them and get to the essence of their prayer, I realize it is not more faith they are wanting at all. What they are wanting is their faith to be change to sight. Faith does not say, “I see this good for me; therefore God must have sent it.” Instead, faith declares ‘God sent it; therefore it must be good for me.’ Faith, when walking through the dark with God, only asks Him to hold his hand more tightly.”[ii]
Isn’t that an amazing perspective on faith? Even in the gloomiest moments of our lives, God does not leave us. When the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was at his lowest point, he was still able to rally his faith and find his hope in God. We will all face discouraging moments especially as we stand up for what is right. But even though Jeremiah faced rock bottom emotions, he knew he could look up and find his hope in the Lord. He waited on the Lord through the troubling times. In his book of Lamentations, Jeremiah wrote a powerful commentary of hope rising up from despair.
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord
Allow Jeremiah’s words to be your strength through troubling times. When you feel alone. When you feel like no one else is listening. When you feel like you have made a mistake. When you feel rejected by your own people…may Jeremiah’s words be your comfort and reminder to keep your eyes on the Lord and wait patiently for Him. He does have a good plan. We may not see the fruit until we stand with Him in eternity, but let us remain faithful to the message He has given us no matter what the cost.
This is an excerpt from Positive Leadership Principles for Women
[ii] Jim Reimann and LBE Cowan, Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008) May 1 entry.