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.”
The unknown brings fear to some. To others there comes a sense of excitement and adventure, especially if they believe that all will be well in the end.
In my striving to be conscious of God and to hear His voice and walk with Him, I slowly learned that I do not get the Lord to speak simply by striving to listen. Nor is He always speaking and I hear or get to hear bits and pieces only as I succeed in efforts to “tune in” like a ham operator trying to pick up a frequency. No, the Lord speaks when it pleases Him, and when He speaks, He is fully capable of making Himself heard with or without any help or hindrance from us. Until we are humbled and repent of our arrogance, we will neither understand nor rest. Standing atop a mountain peak, I could not hear a sound. In vain I strained my ears to hear But nothing came except a tear Because I could not hear. Cold it grew and I withdrew To lower levels not by choice, And there I felt more comforted But silence remained the only voice And still I could not hear. “Am I dead?” in pain I asked myself, “Is there something wrong with me? I should think that on these wondrous heights Is where hearing and seeing ought to be.” And down I came again. Lower and lower and lower still, Not even ground level was to be my fill, But lower and lower and lower ’til The darkness smothered me out of sight And my only friends were sorrow and fright. But I was not alone. For in the nether of darkness and tether, Down where I had made my bed, And where I resigned to live and sleep, I heard the Voice instead: “Come up!” It said, “and into th...
All of creation points to and teaches us of God, His requirements of us, our relationships to Him. Life in Christ must be as spontaneous and natural as the branches to their tree trunk. And am I presumptuous in pointing out that as branches cannot live without the trunk so the trunk has no life without branches? Can it be that Almighty God is so committed to us, His creation? We are branches, we are one, Not by ourselves, not of ourselves, But we live by the Greater One Which gives us life, Which gives us purpose for being. Though we go our own ways, One this way and that, Still we serve the One greater From where we come, In Whom we have our being and our life. We serve the Greater One and give It life; We live for It and It alone. The Trunk is our source and our deposit, The Beginning and the End. How can we live except we give? If we do not give, the Trunk does not live; If the Trunk does not live, we die. For the Trunk then we live No other choice can there be, Yet we give not so that we live, We are what we are; We do what we do, And if we do well we live. Lethbridge, 1984