Streams in the Desert
"He giveth quietness." (Job 34:29).
Quietness amid the dash of the storm. We sail the lake with Him still; and as we reach its middle waters, far from land, under midnight skies, suddenly a great storm sweeps down. Earth and hell seem arrayed against us, and each billow threatens to overwhelm. Then He arises from His sleep, and rebukes the winds and the waves; His hand waves benediction and repose over the rage of the tempestuous elements. His voice is heard above the scream of the wind in the cordage and the conflict of the billows, "Peace, be still!" Can you not hear it? And there is instantly a great calm. "He giveth quietness." Quietness amid the loss of inward consolations. He sometimes withdraws these, because we make too much of them. We are tempted to look at our joy, our ecstasies, our transports, or our visions, with too great complacency. Then love for love's sake, withdraws them. But, by His grace, He leads us to distinguish between them and Himself. He draws nigh, and whispers the assurance of His presence. Thus an infinite calm comes to keep our heart and mind. "He giveth quietness."
"He giveth quietness." O Elder Brother,
Whose homeless feet have pressed our path of pain,
Whose hands have borne the burden of our sorrow,
That in our losses we might find our gain.
"Of all Thy gifts and infinite consolings,
I ask but this: in every troubled hour
To hear Thy voice through all the tumults stealing,
And rest serene beneath its tranquil power.
"Cares cannot fret me if my soul be dwelling
In the still air of faith's untroubled day;
Grief cannot shake me if I walk beside thee,
My hand in Thine along the darkening way.
"Content to know there comes a radiant morning
When from all shadows I shall find release,
Serene to wait the rapture of its dawning--
Who can make trouble when Thou sendest peace?"
Lessons in the Shadow
"In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft: in his quiver hath he hid me" (Isa. 49:2).
"In the shadow." We must all go there sometimes. The glare of the daylight is too brilliant; our eyes become injured, and unable to discern the delicate shades of color, or appreciate neutral tints--the shadowed chamber of sickness, the shadowed house of mourning, the shadowed life from which the sunlight has gone.
But fear not! It is the shadow of God's hand. He is leading thee. There are lessons that can be learned only there.
The photograph of His face can only be fixed in the dark chamber. But do not suppose that He has cast thee aside. Thou art still in His quiver; He has not flung thee away as a worthless thing.
He is only keeping thee close till the moment comes when He can send thee most swiftly and surely on some errand in which He will be glorified. Oh, shadowed, solitary ones, remember how closely the quiver is bound to the warrior, within easy reach of the hand, and guarded jealously. --Christ in Isaiah, Meyer
In some spheres the shadow condition is the condition of greatest growth. The beautiful Indian corn never grows more rapidly than in the shadow of a warm summer night. The sun curls the leaves in the sultry noon light, but they quickly unfold, if a cloud slips over the sky. There is a service in the shadow that is not in the shine. The world of stellar beauty is never seen at its best till the shadows of night slip over the sky. There are beauties that bloom in the shade that will not bloom in the sun. There is much greenery in lands of fog and clouds and shadow. The florist has "evening glories" now, as well as "morning glories." The "evening glory" will not shine in the noon's splendor, but comes to its best as the shadows of evening deepen.
If all of life were sunshine,
Our faces would be fain
To feel once more upon them
The cooling plash of rain.
--Henry Van Dyke
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