SUMMER AND WINTER
As it was in the lives of God’s people in other days, so it is now. Let me give but one example. It is that of a young man who was one of my dear companions on earth. This young man could be seen walking on a summer day on a Hebridean moor. He was accompanied by a friend. Sometimes he would stoop down to pick one of those rare and heatherscented flowers which, in early June, delight and surprise those who know the island moorlands. With each flower that met his eye he would exclaim in near ecstacy: “How lovely He must be Who created these, and Who has done all things well!” This was not a mere artistic appreciation of Nature in one of her colourful and fragrant robes, but the welling up in his soul of a deep love of Christ Who had, a few days before, forgiven him his sins and rescued his soul from spiritual death and despair. In his preconverted days this young man wandered into the dark shadows of atheism and unbelief, till at last he felt like one imprisoned in a silent meaningless universe. Then one night, as he listened to a neighbour singing a Psalm, he felt himself, as by an omnipotent hand, brought out of darkness into the marvellous light of the Gospel. God broke through every barrier and embraced his soul in love and tenderness. In a moment, with his inner eyes unveiled, he could see it all. Christ had taken his place on the Tree. He died that he might live. His sin was put away “as far as east is distant from the west.” Now he saw himself, not in a lonely universe without a purpose or without a God, but enjoying the presence of the One Whose existence he had so often doubted, and “accepted in the Beloved.” That night a new love was born in his heart for the One Who loved him. That was why he loved even the flowers which He had made. They were speaking to him of a lovelier flower by farÂ—”the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valleys.”
But his happy spiritual morning was soon followed by deep and prolonged spiritual conflicts. He went to Heaven on a stormy sea. But Christ’s promises to his soul, along with a treasured assurance of His love, and a foretaste of the joys reserved for him in a better world, sustained and supported him to the end. With Paul he could say: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
As a fit comment on this story I should like to quote the words of a Christian man who had for many years been a follower of the Lord. This man once found himself in the company of several young believers. A young woman, who had but recently “tasted that the Lord is gracious” was telling the story of her new-found joy, and of that love “which is better than wine.” It was the love of Christ shed abroad in her heart that caused her lips to speak. When she had finished her story her older friend said in a quiet
voice, “Drink your wine, my dear, while you may: the waters of Marah you will reach soon enough.”
These remarks may serve to show that before God places us under our several burdens and crosses He often gives us solid tokens of His love and care. We must not, therefore, be discouraged if, after a morning of joy, much of life’s brief day may be laden with heavy clouds. But through these clouds many rays of comfort often break through. They are the tokens that our times are in His hands, and that behind these clouds the sun of His love is for ever shining.
From “In All Their Affliction” by M. Campbell, Resolis Ross-shire.