Friday, December 5, 2008

I Heard the Bells ...

Bok Tower - Winter Haven, Florida

I love the sound of bells. One of the most vivid childhood memories I have is a family trip taken to Bok Tower in Winter Haven, Florida. I was amazed at the 60-bell carillon that played on the hour. There was something so soothing about the sound of those bells. So peaceful and calming.

There are plenty of desperate situations going on in our world, even in my little world, that could trigger one to become cynical and even depressed. The gloomy skies today and the bitter rain mirror my tired, weary soul and my aching heart as I look at circumstances that seem to be getting no better. Circumstances that irritate, frustrate, and even grieve me. I long for peace and calm.

I listened and read the words to the carol, "I Heard The Bells" this afternoon and researched its origin. One
of my favorite poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the words to this carol. He battled depression after his wife’s tragic death in a fire in 1861, the Civil War had erupted that same year, and his son was tragically injured in battle. Sitting down at his desk one day in 1863, he wrote the poem "Christmas Bells," now recognized as the carol "I Heard The Bells." These particular words spoke to my heart today...

And in despair I bowed my head

'There is no peace on earth,' I said,

'For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.'

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men.'

I admit, sometimes I have felt like my prayers are not heard, as if evil profits, as if God is asleep.

But Psalms 34:15 says God doesn't sleep at all. "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry." I can't rely on my feelings. I must rely on truth. And the truth is found in God's Word. Psalms 121:4 says "He who keeps Israel does not slumber or sleep. God is eternally vigilant and eternally alert." He is aware of our needs. To wait for His will is difficult, but, He has perfect timing. He will take action when it will glorify Him the most and honor His name. I must trust. And wait. Without complaining. "'...He is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail; the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to men.'"

I heard the bells!

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