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.”
It is bad enough to watch a dog vomit though by vomiting it may well expel that which ails it. Then it is a pleasant experience to behold a healthy creature. But bad is bad when one witnesses the return of a dog to its vomit only to lick it up again. I do not know of many more disgusting spectacles to witness in all of existence. Up from the pits of Hell Come the vilest of the vile; These are the has-beens of yester-year, Full of venom and guile. These have known the truth of God; They have known His love and power, His mercy to loveless men; His goodness has made them sour. Why do angels fall? Why do just men call On gods who have nothing to give? Why do fools choose death In order that they may live? Now here is a marvelous thing That would make any devil sing: It is easier to find The seeing man crying to be blind Than it is the blind to see. Lethbridge, Alta., June 1985
Spanish – English So very much of our conversation belies our true nature and convictions. We say we love God, we speak of thanking and praising Him when we “are in church” or in a religious setting trying to impress others but let the guard down and listen to the words of our mouths and our hearts. Now these hearts are supposed to be the new ones we received in our “new birth.” With one set of words we proclaim we are new creatures, thankful to God in all things. With another set, we let others know where we really stand. Often, the arm raised in praise has a clenched fist and the lips of thanksgiving conceal gnashing teeth. Because conditions are never perfect, the spirit of complaint can never be stilled or appeased. Our ceasing to complain cannot hinge therefore on a change in conditions but must come solely by change in spirit and attitude. The source or cause of complaint is never the circumstances but always the subject in same. At any given time our lives can view from either of two perspectives, positive or negative, like two sides to a coin. Each side truly exists and we are right either way but we become what we behold. Therefore must we decide what to behold. Isn’t it awful? Isn’t it hot out? It’s enough to fry one’s brains! It’s so dry and dusty…. If only we had a little rain. You want rain? Plan a picnic! Where did all these terrible flies come from? Sure it’s raining…just washed my car! If it doesn’t rain, it pours! Is it ever muggy out! ...
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