The scalpel, cod liver oil and discipline are examples of the many things in life undesirable and hard to take but which are there usually for our good.
It will not suffice to judge good and bad by our own understanding which is “understanding.” We can tell nothing by appearance. So our selfishness is removed by trials and tribulations, fires that purge us of pride, self-sufficiency and arrogance in which we think we know what is best for us.
There come times when we are troubled
And in that trouble we have nowhere to turn it seems.
At such a time of desperation we cry out for help.
Somehow, having asked for help before,
We receive no reply.
But our cry must be loud enough and earnest enough to be heard.
“Prince Valiant, Prince Majesty, come to my aid;
Only you can save me now.
I’ve waited too long and now I must turn
To such as yourself for deliverance.
Oh! But I need a miracle!
I need a shining light,
The sound of thunder and a shaking of earth;
No less will do for me now!
A chariot of God; to take me up
Leaving my enemies far below.
Who is this man I wait for?
A man in shining armour,
Fitted from head to toe;
With perfect knowledge, power and wisdom,
Compassion with overflow;
A flaming sword in his hand,
Magnificent shield in arm;
There is no standing up to him…
Invincible is his name.
Who is it I hear knocking at the door?
Another enemy? Is it more trouble?”
I view through the peephole an unpleasant spectacle…
I’m not at all amused.
‘What is it?’ I ask in an impatient voice.
‘Why do you bother me now?
Can’t you see I’m in trouble enough?
Besides, I’m expecting a welcome guest.'”
“I heard of your trouble” the man replied,
In not too impressive a tone.
“I came if perhaps I could help you out
And I’m glad I found you at home.”
Incredulous, I gasped in utter dismay!
“You?!” I spluttered out.
“What height of presumption and lunacy
Can possibly cause you to speak?!
Just look at you now, as ugly as sin,
Your clothes are ragged and worn;
Your face isn’t beaming – you have no horse;
Don’t you think it was wrong to be born?
I’m looking for someone strong and great!
Who else can get me out of this mess?
If you can possibly help carry water or cut wood,
Go to him that needs it.”
“I admit” the stranger replied, “I’m not a pretty sight
But my credentials are not my looks.
If you really believe that sight is right,
You have no hope at all.”
“I know what I need and I know what I want
And the likes of yourself won’t change that,” I said.
“I’ll thank you to remove yourself from my land
And go back where you came from…
If they’ll have you!”
With that I cursed him to his face
And cursed my circumstances
That instead of a hero to help in great need,
I received a bothersome twit.
Back to his base returned the stranger
And went directly to the stable.
He unsaddled the steed and gave him to eat
The finest oats in the land.
Servants attended, removing his armour,
Preparing him for the King.
He bathed and groomed and dressed himself
In the aftermath of his battle and journey.
“Prince Valiant, Prince Majesty, noble and true,
How did you fare with the man who cried,
With the man who asked help in his trouble?”
“My Lord,” he replied to his honoured King,
“The cry was not from the heart of hearts.
I came with my horse and armour,
In magnificent array as You sent me
But he could not see clearly through his peephole,
Blinded by the deeds of his heart.
He thought he saw a beggar,
A man more wretched than he, and
He refused to grant me entrance,
Commanding I get off his land.”
“Be at peace, My son, It isn’t your fault.
The time is not yet ripe.
But sending you, he’ll one day know
That he was not without help.
And when the time does come
That he’ll be respectful to you,
Then that will end all his troubles for,
He’ll be respectful to Me.”
Until the believer is perfected, there remains some atheist in him. He says he believes, but in the final analysis, his fruits tell otherwise, quite. We worry, doubt, or fear because we don’t believe. Examining ourselves in the Light, we discover the truth about ourselves. That Light’s source is the fire that serves to purge us of the atheist within, that fire being an enemy at first, and a friend in the end. How will I know I can stand the fire Unless I am subjected? How do I develop muscle to do heavy work Unless I do heavy work to develop muscle? How do I form calluses on my hands to prevent blisters Unless I do those things That make blisters? I say I have faith to do anything, To suffer all things and smile, even laugh But how do I get that faith Unless I suffer the very things To produce the faith To laugh at the things concerning which I say I have faith? How can I cry and say, “I believe”? But when I believe, I shall not cry When the fires come Because the fires have done their work. Lethbridge, August, 1984
I have known fear, perhaps not as some have known it but many know fear one way or another, at one time or another, to such an extent that it cripples, paralyzes the soul. We think we have security in this world until one day we are rudely awakened from our pipe-dream. Security in this world is but an illusion. When our disillusionment comes, its comrade-in-arms is often fear. But that disillusionment needn’t be our enemy. In truth, it can be a friend in disguise. Nor do we need to fear as though there is no such thing as true and sure security, for then we would be prey to a lie, to our own destruction. There IS a sure security for those who will avail themselves of it. My fear rides me like a stern rider Rides his horse. Unless I run his pace, His spurs dig deep my sides. I think blood flows at times…I’m sure of it. I scarcely dare to think, to pause For fear I have a rider Who will not show me mercy Who will not grant me pardon Who will not make a move To relent, to ease my pain. “Run!” he says. I run. “Faster!” says he. I go faster. “Faster isn’t good enough! You’ve had it!” I think that if I drop, I have sweet release. He whips me as I fall. Fear is not afraid to beat a dead horse. He seems to relish it, delight in it. The compassion of fear is tyranny, His patience only scorn. He takes the meat and feeds it to minks, And then I think, “Aha! There is rest in the mouths of minks, Fear has no torment there!” Until I find that my rider Is possess...
Jesus said “Judge not according to the appearance but judge righteous judgment.” Therefore there is a right and true and valid judging. The problem is that many do not recognize the difference between the right kind and the wrong, and many lawless, hiding their own sins, refuse to acknowledge that there is a valid kind to which they might be subjected by judges who are used by God. What is the sure and fair standard? It is none other than the revelation of God, given to men who have died and received that understanding and wisdom in those matters they judge, having been given to know the secrets of the heart. The price is the beam by way of the cross. Measure me! How long am I? How tall? How big? How strong? Is there anything to measure When all is said and done? Do I compare to what I was Or what I will yet be? And what will I be? Do I compare to others? What standard will you use? What I have, will I always have it? Is it worth having to lose it in the end? Is the glory worth the shame? Vanity! Utter vanity! Our possessions aren’t two cents! One day they’re here and then they’re gone. Failure never relents. Judge me if you think you can; What measure will you use? Inner, outer, upper, lower, Do you have any clues? Appearance is not all there is In fact, appearance isn’t. It is NOT. But how will you know what is? Does reality not exist? Is it not available? Or is it here and unperceived Only because you are blind? There is an answer. Lethbridge,...