I’m often fond of asking the Lord to help me “grow deeper” in my love and faith for Him. I pray this over others as well. But I’m keenly aware of what this generally means. Personal growth usually results from suffering. From small inconveniences to life altering ones, these trials are the sandpaper to our sanctification.
Jason and I have this poem/hymn, I asked the Lord if I might grow, written by John Newton kept on the side of our refrigerator. Its something I stop and read every now and then reminding myself that bearing fruit comes from struggle. As with the global health crisis we are all experiencing right now in some way, God sometimes lovingly afflicts us to get our attention- off ourselves, off distractions, off our idols, to turn back to Him.
For believers this is a grace into repentance and restored fellowship with our Father. For unbelievers this is an opportunity to humbly come to our Great God and Savior! The result from such actions will look like a deepening dependence on Him.
Newton, a former slave trader and best known for his hymn Amazing Grace, understood 1 Peter 1:6-7, the implications of suffering as spiritual refinement: “though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine, and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
How has the Lord graciously peeled back the layers of spiritual apathy, pride, habitual sins or busyness in your life? We all have the precious gift of slowing down right now as so many things have been stripped away. Being still is hard for us. We may not like what we see if we’re honest.
God is actively at work in COVID-19 of which there may be many purposes I won’t get into here. But one might just be to turn your eyes back to Jesus. Will you go to Him? Is He your life? Heart examination is uncomfortable, especially admitting where I fall short. But man is it necessary- ultimately for our good. God opposes the proud but will give grace to the humble. So be encouraged in your hardships right now. The undergrowth could make way for a deeper intimacy with the King of the Universe. And isn’t He worth it?
This is the poem John Newton penned:
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.
‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray;
And He, I trust, has answered prayer:
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d grant me my request;
And, by His love’s constraining power,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this? I trembling cried;
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free,
To break thy schemes of worldly joy,
That thou mayest seek thy all in Me.
I’ll leave you with another hymn, this time a modern one written and sung by Keith and Kristyn Getty called ‘The Lord is My Salvation”. It ties in well with the theme of heart affliction. I pray you know the depth and supernatural love of God in your own life. Let His words of truth refresh you today.
Grace upon grace,
2 thoughts on “I asked the Lord that I might grow”
Peace be with you,
The article starts great, but then it suddenly twists from God to the son of God, giving the impression you do not take that son as the mediator between God and man, but take him as your god.
You write: “God is actively at work in COVID-19 of which there may be many purposes I won’t get into here. But one might just be to turn your eyes back to Jesus. Will you go to Him? Is He your life?”
We best have all the time, not only in corona-time, our eyes on Jehovah God, the heavenly Father.
We sincerely hope you may come to find that Jesus is the way to God (and not to himself) and that you may hear the call of God.
Keep safe and healthy.
Hello, I appreciate your comment. Jesus is God and the Son of God, just as the Holy Spirit which resides in each believer is God. This is the wonderful mystery of the Trinity. I have had the wonderful opportunity to debate this with another commenter which you can view in the comments from the post ‘Signs and Wonders’. It’s important to note that these are not just my opinions but the truth and trustworthiness of Scripture. Even in things I cannot fully understand, I believe by faith that the whole of God’s Word is true. Just as Isaiah writes concerning the Lord “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). I am praying for you and the other person (and his family) who has taken the time to write me. Thank you. It is a privilege to speak truth with you.
Blessings in the strong name of Jesus our God,