Lenten Reflection: For the Good of Those Who Love Him


by Pastor Bert Hitchcock

Romans 8:28 is a favorite text for countless Christians: the promise that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”  Unfortunately, that promise sometimes gets reduces to a blithe “everything will be okay” –  which it often is not!

William Cowper was a man for whom almost nothing worked out to be okay: all three of his siblings died in infancy, his mother died before he turned six, he was bullied at school, he fell in love with his cousin whom he was not allowed to marry, he was given to deep depression, several times he had a “nervous breakdown” and attempted suicide, and for his whole life he struggled mightily with the fear that God would never forgive him.  And yet this troubled man, wrote a hymn which unpacked the truth of Romans 8:28, like no other exposition.  That hymn is entitled “God Moves In A Mysterious Way”.

In that hymn we see the honest admission of our struggles:
     Life being like a stormy sea, 
     God’s wisdom being unfathomable, 
     Our fear of the dreadful clouds of life, 
     Our experience of God providence seeming to frown at us, 
     The bitter taste of God’s unfolding purposes,
     And our temptation to abandon our faith when it makes no sense.
But that is not just our experience.  All those things also characterized Jesus’ agonizing journey toward the cross.
And yet, coupled with those struggles is repeated comfort:
   Amidst his mysterious ways, God is moving to work wonders
     God’s designs are actually bright and gracious,
     God intends to rain down mercy on us,
     Though we cannot see it, He is smiling, 
     What seems bitter now, will prove to be sweet,
     And what seems unfathomable will be made plain.
And just as God promised, through of the agony of Jesus’ suffering and death, God’s plan to save us was accomplished.
And so, in my darkest hour, I have reason to hope.  For though William Cowper never understood fully, nor do I, Jesus has proven beyond question that in all things – mysterious, troubling, or even dreadful – God is working for the good of those who love Him.


Lenten Reflection: Without One Plea


by Tricia Hitchcock

Rev. Billy Graham has died. Or rather, He has gone to live in Heaven with Jesus. The day I heard, I was sure that this world seemed a little darker.

But as word of his passing spread, the Gospel spread as well. There were special programs on television. Rev. Graham’s body was taken to the Capitol building. His funeral was broadcast. And as people remembered him and all he stood for, God’s Good News was once again shared with people who needed to hear.

The hymn “Just As I Am” has always made me think of Billy Graham. I guess that’s because it was part of the altar call he did at his crusades. But whenever I hear it, I’m also reminded of an “aha moment” in my own life.

When I was in college, I came back to the dorm one night and called my dad. I had just gotten out of an apologetics class and had to share with him the big revelation I’d had. It went something like this: “Dad, if Jesus is not enough, we have nothing! I mean, if God changes His mind, and Jesus’ death on the cross is not good enough, we can bring nothing to Him. Nothing we do has enough merit. But God doesn’t change His mind. He has said that Jesus’ sacrifice is payment for our sin. Isn’t that amazing?” I’m sure my dad was confused as to why his college-aged daughter, who had believed in God and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for as long as she could remember, was calling with such an exclamation. Didn’t I already know that? He was sure I did.

And I believe I did too. But that night, I realized in a new way that I came to God bringing nothing but Jesus…and that was enough.

Just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me and that Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come. I come.


Lenten Reflection: In Christ Alone



by a friend of the Chapel


To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY. Col.1:27


  1. In Christ alone my hope is found                         Acts 4:12

He is my light my strength my song.                          Psalm 27:1-2

This Cornerstone, this solid ground                             I Peter 2:7-8

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.           Mark 4:39

What heights of love, what depths of peace             Ephesians 3:18

When fears are stilled when strivings cease!             Psalm 27:1

My Comforter my All in All                                         H.C. Question 1 My only comfort –Jesus

Here in the love of Christ I stand.                                 Ephesians 3:18; Romans 8:31,35-39


  1. In Christ alone!-who took on flesh                         Matthew; Luke 2; Philippians 2

Fullness of God in helpless babe!             Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:7; Colossians 1:19

This gift of love and righteousness                                 John 3:16

Scorned by the ones He came to save.                         Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 21:42

Till on that cross as Jesus died                                   Matthew 27:50; Mark…Luke…John

The wrath of God was satisfied.                                     II Corinthians 5:21

For every sin on Him was laid;                                       Hebrews 9:22

Here in the death of Christ I live.                                  II Corinthians 5:17


  1. There in the ground His body lay                           Matthew 27:60; Mark…Luke…John

Light of the world by darkness slain.                             John 3:19

Then bursting forth in glorious Day                              Matthew 28:6; Mark…Luke…John

Up from the grave He rose again!                                 I Corinthians 15:20

And as He stands in victory                                         Ephesians 1:21-23; Revelation 5:13

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me.                                 Romans 8:32

For I am His and He is mine-                                           Romans 14:7-9

Bought with the precious blood of Christ!                   Hebrews 9:22


  1. No guilt in life no fear in death                               Psalm 27:1,13-14

This is the power of Christ in me.                                   Philippians 1:21

From life’s first cry to final breath                                 Romans 14:7-9

Jesus commands my destiny.                                         Ephesians 2:8-10

No power of hell no scheme of man                             Matthew 16:18

Can ever pluck me from His hand.                                 John 10:28-30

Till He returns or calls me home                    Matthew 24:30-31; I Thessalonians 4:16-18

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!                           Ephesians 6:10-20


And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Colossians 1:17-18. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and you are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-10.

Please copy these verses and texts and keep them for reference.





Lenten Reflection: It is the Chart and Compass


By Nick Wonder


It is the chart and compass

In browsing the Trinity Hymnal, I came upon the following line in “O Word of God Incarnate,” written by William Walsham How in 1867.  As one whose obedience in reading and prizing the Scriptures is at best inconsistent, I find the topic worthy of consideration.

It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging sea, ‘mid mists and rocks and quicksands, still guides O Christ to thee

When on excursions to less familiar territory, I generally bring maps.  Sometimes I check online directions just before embarking, hoping that the map site will give me an optimal route in case of traffic jams or roadwork.  The Holy Scriptures always provide perfect, up-to-date guidance, revealing the Savior to those with eyes to see and directing them in the path of peace and holiness, whatever sinkholes may have opened up nearby.   The Word reminds us, moreover, that we travel not under our own power and that the One who transports us shall surely deliver us to our destination.

Those of us at the Chapel are blessed to have a pastor and teachers who in every book of the Bible show us Jesus and the salvation he has worked. This Bible is living and active.  How remarkable and encouraging it is that the same Word was speaking to saints hundreds or thousands of years ago.  How awesome to hold the eternal Word of God in our hands.  May we not neglect it.

“Thy testimonies also are my delight;

They are my counselors” – Psalm 119: 24




Lenten Reflection: O Make Me Thine Forever


by Nick Laninga


What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity 
without end?
O make me Thine forever; and should I fainting be,
Lord let me never, never 
outlive my love for Thee.
Bernard of Clairvaux

The following are taken from scripture, J Oswald Sanders and Kenneth Osbeck .

In the words “The Son of God…loved me, and gave himself for me”{Galatians 2:20} lies the heart of the atonement. In love, the Son of God literally gave Himself for me. This puts in personal terms the great transaction of Calvary. It is as true today as when it happened. Inexhaustible in depth and
meaning it may be, but it is neither irrational nor beyond comprehension when the illumination of the Holy Spirit is present. “O the depth of the riches riches both of wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable are His judgements, and his ways finding out!”{Romans 11:33} How could God let His heart of love have its way in justifying guilty men and women, without condoning their sin and thus violating His own holiness? It was a problem to which only His own infinite wisdom could find a solution.

“At the cross, God took the initiative,” wrote James Denney,”and so dealt with sin in His Son, that now He can justify the repenting sinner and not compromise His holy character.” This was the very purpose of our Lord’s life. Luther’s motto is gloriously true—theologia crucis-theologia lucis. Theology of the Cross is clear.

In a time of the “dark ages” God had his people who displayed His glorious light. Bernard was one of these. In his early twenties he chose to be a monk. He was of noble character. He laid aside his opportunities to achieve nobility and went on to write several poems which we now sing. Bernard’s love of the Savior was so evident that Martin Luther called him the “best monk that ever lived. Bernard went on to found 162 monasteries during his lifetime and put to pen some of the most endearing words that draw us to reflect on the person and passion of Christ.

Again this is not about Bernard but of Christ.

Ponder anew [ as Ellie Steensma said earlier } What the Almighty can do and see your suffering Savior, then commit your life more fully to Him.

The Laninga’s



Lenten Reflection: Sanctify To Us Our Deepest Distress

by Hilary Gibson
Hymn: How Firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord
“And He will be with us in troubles to bless,
And sanctify to us our deepest distress.”
Whenever we sing this hymn in church, I just melt. These two lines in particular never cease to bring me to tears. The idea that our God is never far and always working on our behalf is such a deep comfort to me.
In particular, I love what these lines say about God’s promise to us:
First, that he will never leave us alone, no matter our circumstance. Even when we feel abandoned, lost, unheard, and unmoored, God is present with us.And second, that God is powerful and compassionate enough to not only save us from hardship, but also to turn our hardships into holy goodness.

Rather than blessing us by taking away our troubles, God blesses us in the midst of our troubles, and he sanctifies our distress rather than erasing or voiding or negating our distress. If God was in the business of making all hard, painful things just go away in one magic poof, I would have a harder time understanding why he lets us suffer at all. But knowing that God accompanies us into suffering and then turns the bitterest circumstance into a rich blessing is a joyful thing… it leaves me eagerly waiting to see how he will inevitably turn each of my sins and sorrows to his great glory.


Lenten Reflection: He Sendeth More Strength


by Tricia Hitchcock


He Giveth More Grace

I frequently feel overwhelmed by life. It’s not that anything is really bad; it isn’t. I live a pretty easy life, I know. But nonetheless, I am overwhelmed by the little things that pile up each day. I don’t know how to handle some of the things I see in the lives of the children I teach. I have to deal with what happens when these kids come to school not fully ready to learn. I fear what may happen as new laws are made and policies that I don’t agree with become things I have to deal with and decide how I am going to handle. And just this week, I was reminded that schools aren’t always the safe places we wish they were. While I recognize the benefits of my job, teaching is not always easy.

But I also know that God has equipped me for and called me to be a teacher. His word says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) And I know that God is walking with me through this journey.

This is why this hymn is so comforting. “He sendeth more strength when the labors increase”. God knows when I’m struggling. God knows when things are getting tough. And He is right there, giving me more strength out of His “infinite resources”.

How thankful I am that He is never at the end of His rope!


  1. He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
  2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
  3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
  4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.