"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherwith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ?and hath heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:4-6.)
This is our rightful place, to be "seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," and to "sit still" there. But how few there are who make it their actual experience! How few, indeed think even that it is possible for them to "sit still" in these "heavenly places" in everyday life of a world so full of turmoil as this.
We may believe perhaps that to pay a little visit to these heavenly places on Sundays, or now and then in times of spiritual exaltation, may be within the range of possibility; but to be actually "seated" there every day and all day long is altogether another matter; and yet it is very plain that it is for Sundays and week-days as well.
A quiet spirit is of inestimable value in carrying on outward activities; and nothing so hinders the working of the hidden spiritual forces, upon which, after all, our success in everything really depends, as a spirit of unrest and anxiety.
There is immense power in stillness. A great saint once said, "all things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent." The words are pregnant with meaning. A knowledge of this fact would immensely change our ways of working. Instead of restless struggles, we would "sit down" inwardly before the Lord, and would let the Divine forces of His Spirit work out in silence the ends to which we aspire. You may not see or feel the operations of this silent force, but be assured it is always working mightly, and will work for you, if you only get your spirit still enough to be carried along by the currents of its power.
--- Hannah Whitall Smith. "There is a point of rest At the great center of the cyclone's force, A silence at its secret source; A little child might slumber undisturbed, Without the ruffle of one fair curl, In that strange, central calm, amid the mighty whirl."
It is your business to learn to be peaceful and safe in God in every situation.
"He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." (Mal. 3:3.)
Our Father, who seeks to perfect His saints in holiness, knows the value of the refiner's fire. It is with the most precious metals that the assayer takes the most paints, and subjects them to the hot fire, because such fires melt the metal, and only the molten mass such fires melt the metal, and only the molten mass releases its alloy or takes perfectly its new form in the mould. The old refiner never leaves his crucible, but sits down by it, lest there should be one excessive degree of heat to mar the metal. But as soon as he skims from the surface the last of the dross, and sees his own face reflected, he puts out the fire. --- Arthur T. Pierson.
"He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat, As He watched by the precious ore, And closer He bent with a searching gaze, As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test, And He wanted the finest gold To mould as a crown for the King to wear, Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire, Tho' we fain would have said Him ˉNay,' And He watched the dross that we had not seen, And it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright, But our eyes were so dim with tears, We saw but the fire-not the Master's hand, And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow, As it mirrored a Form above, That bent o'er the fire, tho' unseen by us, With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart To cause us a moment's paint? Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye, With a love that is strong and sure, And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat, Than was needed to make it pure,"
To run with patience is a very difficult thing. Running is apt to suggest the absence of patience, the eagerness to reach the goal. We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet, I do not think the invalid's patience the hardest to achieve.
There is a patience which I believe to be harder the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: It is the power to work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily task. It is a Christlike thing!
Many of us would nurse our grief without crying if we were allowed to nurse it. The hard thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in bed, but in the street. We are called to bury our sorrows, not in lethargic quiescence, but in active service - in the exchange, in the workshop, in the hour of social intercourse, in the contribution to another's joy. There is no burial of sorrow so difficult as that; it is the "running with patience."
This was Thy patience, O son of man! It was at once a waiting and a running - a waiting for the goal, and a doing of the lesser work meantime. I see Thee at Cana turning the water into wine lest the marriage feast should be clouded I see Thee in the desert feeding a multitude with bread just to relieve a temporary want. All, all the time, Thou wert bearing a mighty grief, unshared, unspoken. Men ask for a rainbow in the cloud; but I would ask ;more from Thee. I would be, in my cloud, myself a rainbow - a minister to other' joy. My patience will be perfect when it can work in the vineyard. George Matheson.
"When all our hopes are gone, ˉTis well our hands must keep toiling on For others' sake: For strength to bear is found in duty done; And he is best indeed who learns to make The joy of others cure his own heartache."
"Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26, 27.)
This is the deep mystery of prayer. This is the delicate divine mechanism which words cannot interpret, and which theology cannot explain, but which the humblest believer knows even when he does not understand.
Oh, the burdens that we love to bear and cannot understand! Oh, the inarticulate out-reachings of our hearts for things we cannot comprehend! And from the heart of God. It is often a groan rather than a song, a burden rather than a buoyant wing. But it is a blessed burden, and it is a groan whose undertone is praise and unutterable joy. It is "a groaning which cannot be uttered." We could not ourselves express it always, and sometimes we do not understand any more than that God is praying in us, for something that needs His touch and that He understands.
And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart, the burden of our spirit, the sorrow that crushes us, and know that He hears, He loves, He understands, He receives; and He separates from our prayer all that is imperfect, ignorant and wrong, and presents the rest, with the incense of the great High Priest, before the throne on high; and our prayer is heard, accepted and answered in His name. --- A. B. Simpson.
It is not necessary to be always speaking to God or always hearing from God, to have communion with Him; there is an inarticulate fellowship more sweet than words. The little child can sit all day long beside its busy mother and, although few words are spoken on either side, and both are busy, the one at his absorbing play, the other at her engrossing work, yet both are in perfect fellowship. He knows that she is there, and she knows that he is all right. So the saint and the Saviour can go on for hours in the silent fellowship of love, and he be busy about the most common things, and yet conscious that every little thing he does is touched with the complexion of His presence, and the sense of His approval and blessing.
And then, when pressed with burdens and troubles too complicated to put into words and too mysterious to tell or understand, how sweet it is to fall back into His blessed arms, and just sob out the sorrow that we cannot speak! --- Selected.