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.”
We walk by faith. Faith overcomes the world. We live by faith. Faith is the work of God. By faith are we saved. This we know. Now there is much ado made about love, joy, peace and works. But the thing that is striking is that with faith in the trial of the saints is mentioned none of those but patience. “Here is the patience and faith of the saints” (Rev. 13:10). Less is said about patience but this patience is the virtue of all virtues coupled with faith. The Lord teaches us to wait. I once saw a man Sitting in a chair on his veranda. His feet were raised up and resting on a rail, His eyes pegged on the road ahead. He seemed to be waiting With longing and hope. He was alone and didn’t like it much, And waited for someone to come. Time passed on…and on…and on. I looked again and saw The prairie without life, as before, The house, the veranda, and chair; I saw the feet on the rail, The figure was still there But no flesh was left, only dust and bones And cloth and cobwebs and hair. Lord, why must we wait so long For promises to be fulfilled? Soon I begin to think and feel That these promises were only imagined Or that I have failed somehow. I begin to think of that man Who waited with hope in vain. Will this be my lot? Am I that man? My heart sick with hope deferred? Will I turn to dust as that lonely soul, Feeding on empty dreams? But no, this is the patience and faith of the saints Who are called to trust and to...
The ways and thoughts of the spirit of the Lord are far higher than man is ever willing to acknowledge or can imagine. This work had the crucible of a man with above average intellect who was rather impressed with his powers as well as impressive. What a blessing it would be to see a man set aside his strengths both real and perceived and take on the "weakness" of Christ. I have yet to see a man of high intellect do so. But isn't it written that God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise? Men dwell on different planes. There are those who are subterranean, Less than animals; They will not use even their bodies as they ought. There are those who dwell on lower ground, Their bodies they use acceptably well But no more can they receive. Then there are those who have taken to the hills. They have sought the higher ground Of mind and intellectual things. And with the powers of mind Both given and honed, They have awesome works achieved. Yet there is higher ground still. There are snow-capped peaks of the spirit Where the air is cold and thin, Where the traveler is rare, Where few would care to come, Yet the vista is supreme. Satisfied with the planes below, Ignorant of the plane above, Each on his own level thinks There is nothing better, nothing more. Come up higher, man. You've a long way you can go. But put aside the weights of assumptions, Vanities, arrogance. Put away pride and foolis...
Death and parting are never easy between loved ones whether they be righteous or otherwise but with the righteous there is the sure hope of coming together again, the hope of a resurrection. The sunset sometimes promises that hope to be fulfilled and while there is sadness in the departure of the precious, there is also a solemn beauty to temper the sorrow and speak of better things to come. It is only by faith that we perceive that the sun will rise again soon. Coral and lavender, Quiet magnificence; Tender departure, Peaceful farewell. Beauty and Sadness Clasping hands, Warmly embracing, Shedding tears, saying, "It's alright, it's okay!" Gently passing away. Stettler, Alta., Spring, 1987