Of these, the one I put first is probably familiar to most of my readers, but to me, I confess, it was new.

God among His other functions must be a tireless activity working towards an end. Everything He calls into being works toward that end, I myself with the rest. I am not a purposeless bit of jetsam flung out on the ocean of time to be tossed about helplessly. God couldn’t so will an existence. It would not be in keeping with His economy to have any entity wasted. As Our Lord puts it, the sparrow cannot fall without Him; without Him, the lilies are not decked; the knowledge possessed by His infinite intelligence is so minute that the very hairs of the head are numbered. My life, my work, myself—all are as much a necessary part of His design as the thread, the weaver weaves into the pattern in a carpet.

In other words, I am not a free agent. I am His agent. Not only am I responsible to him, but He is responsible for me. His responsibility for me will be seen as soon as I give up being responsible for myself.

It was upon this last point that I seized with the most avidity. I was tired of trying to steer a course for myself, with no compass to go by. I was tired of incessantly travelling along roads which seemed to lead to nothing but blind-ends. To change the figure to one, I used not infrequently at that time, my life seemed pitchforked, first in one way and then in another, no way bringing me anywhere. It had no even tenor. It was a series of seismic pulls and jerks.

But in the light of what my new friend told me, I saw I had been too busily engaged in directing my life for myself. I was like a child who hopes to make a smoothly working machine go still, more smoothly by prodding it. I couldn’t leave it alone. It had not occurred to me that the course of that life was God’s own business, and that if I could follow the psalmist’s advice and “commit my way unto him he would bring it to pass.” It had seemed to me that nothing would be brought to pass unless I worried and fretted over it myself, whereas the same wise old psalmist says, in words which our generation would do well to lay to heart, “fret not thyself else shall thou be moved to do evil.”

“Trust in the Lord and do good,” he goes on; “so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

This was nothing new; it was only new to me. To feel that I could give up being responsible for results and devote myself to my work was in itself a relief. If I tried to “trust in the Lord and do good”— by which I suppose meant doing my duty to the best of my small ability—He would look after the rest. My position was somewhat that of a trusted subordinate given a free hand, but having over him a supreme authority taking charge of all consequences. I was not working on what our modern idiom neatly summarizes as “my own”. I was His agent.

Thus it might be said to be to His interest to see that as His agent I was sheltered, clothed, fed, and in every way kept in such condition as to be up to the highest standard of His work. This provision would naturally include those dependent on me, and without whose well-being, I could not have peace of mind. I need to worry about them no more than about myself. They, too, were His agents. In certain conditions, He might provide for them through me, or in certain conditions, He might provide for me through them; but in all conditions, He would provide for all of us.

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PHOTO CREDIT : THOMAS VITALI

 

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