November 22, 2007 by Stacy McDonald

I Thank Thee, Sire

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I Thank Thee Sire But Thou art making me, I thank Thee, sire.
What Thou hast done and doest Thou know’st well.
And I will help Thee; gently in Thy fire
I will lie burning; on Thy potter’s wheel
I will whirl patient, though my brain should reel.
Thy grace shall be enough the grief to quell,
And growing strength perfect through weakness dire.

~ GEORGE MACDONALD

Wow! How many of us respond to sanctification this way? How many of us choose to thank God, the Potter, as we reel in pain while He spins us, molds us, and burns the dross from our lives? And how many of us lie still, trusting that it is out of His great love for us that He allows trials?

God is so good. He is so patient and faithful to us—just like a tender father to his own precious child, He loves us too much to let us wallow in the cotton candy lifestyle we so often prefer. It’s time for the meat. It’s time for us to choose whether or not we’re going to be faithful to the Scriptures when opposition comes—and rest assured, it comes. It’s easy to be faithful when everyone around you lives and believes as you do. But, what happens when you suddenly realize you may have to walk alone?

One thing I’ve learned is that persecution, in its most painful form, often comes from those who claim Christ – from those closest to us; those we love and trust; those with whom we’ve shared sweet fellowship. That hurts. Martin Luther knew this, William Tyndale knew it, John Calvin knew it, George Whitefield knew it, Jonathan Edwards knew it, and Jesus knew it. We need to know it too. Be ready for it.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God…(2 Timothy 1:8)

Whether persecution comes from strangers, extended family, the government, neighbors, an unsaved spouse, even church family or fellow homeschoolers, know that conflict will come when you attempt to live out Christ without compromise. Be prepared—but also be prepared to praise Him through it. As you remain faithful, God will work mightily in the midst of your trial. And, if you are afraid that you won’t be faithful, don’t worry! Ask Him and He will create in you a faithful heart, so that He may do that great work in and through you.

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. (2 Timothy 3:12–14) [emphasis mine]

Notice, it doesn’t say that “all who call themselves Christians” will suffer persecution; nor does it say “all who live godly” (or “perfectly,” which is impossible) will suffer persecution. It says all who “desire to live godly” will suffer persecution. He is speaking to Believers—redeemed sinners who are seeking to live out the Gospel in their everyday lives. If you go with the flow, you probably won’t face much opposition. But, if you live Christ, then expect at times to be hated, misunderstood, and slandered for His sake.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also… (John 15:20–21)

You aren’t here to please people – just to love and to serve them. Fear God, not man (Luke 12:4-5).

That being said, remember your purpose. Remember not to respond to persecution or conflict “like for like.” We’re to demonstrate grace in the face of trials or persecution so that God is glorified. Bless when reviled; endure when persecuted, entreat when defamed (1 Corinthians 4:12–13). “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44)

If we indeed want to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His righteousness, we will emulate Him (Psalm 145:8-9). We will be attacked without being offended; we will be misunderstood without becoming sarcastic; we will be falsely accused without retaliating; we will love without being loved in return. Who can do this? No one. Only Jesus in us. (1 John 4:4-8)

I fail at this every day.

Oh Lord, help me to reflect your love. Let me decrease, so that you might increase. Help me to speak the truth boldly and without compromise…and in love…without pride. Help me to remember just how small I am compared to You – how helpless I am without You. Help me to extend mercy by comparing myself to Your holiness, rather than to the sins of those around me. And help me to grant them the same grace and mercy I hope to receive from You (Matthew 7:2).

Let us stand boldly for the Truth, compromising nothing; but, let every word we speak, write, or type be conveyed in grace, seasoned with salt, and drenched in genuine humility. You can do it!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Read a follow up post here: Persecution? Are You Serious?



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11 Responses to “I Thank Thee, Sire”

  1. Shannon says:

    Whatever your present difficulties may be you can know that you and your blog have been an encouragement to me, and I can’t wait to read your new book! I know what ‘those times’ are like and I too am thankful for all the Lord has done in my life through them. I am learning more and more that God is good, ALL THE TIME! In my reading of Exodus 6-10 this week I am just about overcome with the realization of God choosing to work in me as He did with the Israelites instead of hardening my heart as He did to Pharaoh. Although I deal with so much at times I am constantly brought back to thankfulness of all that God has done for me and in me. God really is good to this undeserving gal! (I didn’t mean to write a book.) :)
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Lisa Winton says:

    We have the passage from 2 Tim 3 prominently posted on our refrigerator because we have found the same to be true. Thank you for the reminder to be thankful in the midst of persecution.

    By the way, I received my copy of Passionate Housewives and am loving it. May the Lord bless you.

  3. Leigh Ann says:

    Thank you for your faithful stand. I have been following things on this issue and trying to dialog about this but it always felt like I was hitting my head against the wall. People keep wanting to come an understanding, but that will never happen because the beliefs are based on two totally different presuppositions. One side focuses on God and Him doing whatsoever He pleases and the other side, while I don’t doubt that they have a love for God, focuses on equality seeing that as the definition of God’s economy. This in turn scews their view on other subjects. In the end tough questions have to be thought and a realization that in the end this is no longer an “intramural” debate (http://faithandgender.wordpress.com/2007/11/02/christianity-and-egalitarianism/). It has been sad for me to see sincere women led astray and start to disdain everything that has a smack of patriarchy about it. It is also sad to see the misrepresentation going on. I had read elsewhere that you and Carmon had been so arrogent and nasty to Mr.Stackhouse and then cutting him off and then doctoring things to make yourselves look good. It made me sad to think of women behaving that way, then I come and read the comments for myself and see none of that going–in fact the very opposite of that in the tone of the whole blog. I am joyful now that even though my family does not look like yours (even though most of our views are similar), I have found a place to come and receive encouragement in my calling as wife and mother.
    So please be encouraged that there are others out there seeking to honor the Lord in this way, as I was when I found you.
    Grace be upon you. And sorry for the epistle.

  4. Stacy McDonald says:

    Shannon – thank you for your words. Yes, God is good all the time!!! Staying thankful modifies the way we think, act, and react.

    Lisa – I’m glad you liked PH! By the way, I received your email, but couldn’t answer it for some reason – I got a message that said, “Undeliverable”. Anyway, the answer to your question was “that’s fine with me.” :-)

    Hi, Leigh Ann. Thank you for your encouraging note! It is so good to see that God is perfectly capable of being our defense (though we knew that already). We are His.

    And I am so glad you were encouraged while visiting my blog. Please come back – I’ll look forward to visiting with you.

  5. Tully Family says:

    Stacy,

    I am so encouraged by your blog! Your new book should come in the mail shortly- I bought a copy for two friends & my hubby bought me one. Fun, fun, fun! Thank you for your ministry!

    I was wondering where you get the pictures of the paintings that you use in your post? Does copy write laws apply? I would love to start to post some paintings on my blog!

  6. Laura says:

    Poem by Merrianna–15 years old
    To These
    Those who fight
    For other’s sake,
    Those who bend
    And do not break,

    Those who try
    with all their will
    At the deed
    They must fulfill,

    Those who do
    What they must do
    When all around
    Most all untrue.

    Those who read
    And live God’s Word
    Those who wish
    It’s truth be heard

    To these will be
    Their rewards given
    Their treasure is
    Laid up in heaven.
    Written in April 2007

    A book that tells why the Berlin Wall fell and communism was shattered is Candles Behind
    the Wall by Barbara Von Der Heydt. It was “remnant , a minority of people who spoke about, wrote about, and lived the nonconformist convictions… “
    When we say –what i do is not just a preference, but a conviction, we stand. That stand may cost everything, but it is worth it all when we hear our Saviour say,
    “Well done.”
    His grace is sufficient (“it is enough”).
    God is good.

  7. Persuaded says:

    God’s way of working in our lives in so interesting to me. The idea of being able to say with a full and grateful heart, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted..” is so contrary to our human nature. But honestly it is in those times that one can feel greatest joy and contentment in Him. He can’t bring us there if we are not willing to submit to Him entirely, to give Him free and total reign, and of course the ability to do this only comes with maturity.

    I love how you put it..exchange the cotton candy for the meat, which is the Truth of His Word. But you know the Truth is often culturally heretical, and people can be very threatened by that. Sometimes threatened people lash out, not because they doubt what you are saying, but actually the very opposite. If they were certain that what you are saying is error, there would be no need for them to be so strident.They know on some level that it is Truth.

    Know that you are much appreciated by many! I will be praying for you,
    Diane

  8. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Leigh Ann, I wanted to mention that I really appreciated your coming here to find out for yourself if what you had heard was true.

    In reference to Prof. Stackhouse, I did want to mention that I edited out what I deemed to be sarcastic humor on my part.

    Professor Stackhouse and I emailed privately (ccing my husband), via email, which caused me to reevaluate my post according to Scripture. I wasn’t comfortable with the words or the “tone” I had chosen and changed my post accordingly.

    I’ve been criticized for not leaving what I viewed to be a sarcastic comment (on my part) for all to see, and simply editing in an apology. It seems that would be the equivilant of one of my children drawing a picture of his sister with a mustache and then, rather than tearing up the picture, leaving it posted on the refrigerator for all to see – with an apology attached under the picture.

    As I said before, Prof. Stackhouse and I parted company (via email) in peace. My final comment was posted here in October: http://yoursacredcalling.blogspot.com/2007/08/egalitarian-error-and-various-other.html#c376380984617922658

    Again, thank you for using wisdom in checking things out for youself. You just can’t believe everything you read.

  9. Stacy McDonald says:

    Thank you, Diane, your wise words bring strength.

    “Sometimes threatened people lash out, not because they doubt what you are saying, but actually the very opposite. If they were certain that what you are saying is error, there would be no need for them to be so strident. They know on some level that it is Truth.”

    Amen! That is so true! That’s why comparing everything to Scripture is so important. Ironically, what you described was me at one time. In fact, it was my “anger” that sent me to the Scriptures to seek Truth that I THOUGHT I already knew! LOL!

    I thought I knew the Bible, but had been molded by pop-Christianity and didn’t realize that it didn’t line up with the Word of God. Imagine my surprise when I found that God’s Word proved me wrong!

    “Let God be true but every man a liar.”(Romans 3:4)

    Praise God for His Word! I continue to pick off and discard my own ideas of what God’s Word says. Everytime I open the Bible, He reveals Himself further – showing me hidden sin in myself and more about His grace and goodness.

    Thank you so much for praying!

  10. Gloria says:

    Stacy,
    ….the Lord did tell us ” blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sakes…. for so persecuted they the prophets….. rejoice and be exceedingly glad!”

    So rejoice my dear!!! Rejoice ever more…… for as my sweeet husband says to me…. if we are being peresecuted by others, family or friends or Church members then we must be living life right! :)

    Amen!

    Blessings,
    gloria

  11. Lisa Winton says:

    Thank you, Stacy. :o) I might’ve left you the wrong e-mail address. It’s posted on my blog if you did need to get a hold of me. Glad it’s OK with you. I’m keeping the give-away open until Dec. 1st. Have a wonderful day.

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