Streams in the Desert
Praise in the Midst of Trouble
"Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually" (Heb. 13:15).
A city missionary, stumbling through the dirt of a dark entry, heard a voice say, "Who's there, Honey?" Striking a match, he caught a vision of earthly want and suffering, of saintly trust and peace, "cut in ebony"--calm, appealing eyes set amid the wrinkles of a pinched, black face that lay on a tattered bed. It was a bitter night in February, and she had no fire, no fuel, no light. She had had no supper, no dinner, no breakfast. She seemed to have nothing at all but rheumatism and faith in God. One could not well be more completely exiled from all pleasantness of circumstances, yet the favorite song of this old creature ran:
"Nobody knows de trouble I see,
Nobody knows but Jesus;
Nobody knows de trouble I see--
Sing Glory Hallelu!
"Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down,
Sometimes I'm level on the groun',
Sometimes the glory shines aroun'
Sing Glory Hallelu!"
And so it went on: "Nobody knows de work I does, Nobody knows de griefs I has," the constant refrain being the "Glory Hallelu!" until the last verse rose:
"Nobody knows de joys I has,
Nobody knows but Jesus!"
"Troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." It takes great Bible words to tell the cheer of that old negro auntie.
Remember Luther on his sick-bed. Between his groans he managed to preach on this wise: "These pains and trouble here are like the type which the printers set; as they look now, we have to read them backwards, and they seem to have no sense or meaning in them; but up yonder, when the Lord God prints us off in the life to come, we shall find they make brave reading." Only we do not need to wait till then. Remember Paul walking the hurricane deck amid a boiling sea, bidding the frightened crew "Be of good cheer," Luther, the old negro auntie--all of them human sun-flowers. --Wm. G. Garnett
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