We are pilgrims and strangers on this earth, looking for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. The path in which we travel is narrow, and calls for self-denial and self-sacrifice. We meet with trial and conflict. But God has not left us to travel without help. Our pathway to the heavenly Canaan is bordered with the fair flowers of promise. They blossom all along the way, sending forth their rich fragrance, like the flowers in the gardens of this earth.
To blot the promises of God from the Word would be like blotting the sun from the sky. There would then be nothing to gladden our experience. God has placed the promises in His Word to lead us to have faith in Him. In these promises He draws back the veil from eternity, giving us a glimpse of the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory which awaits the overcomer. Let us, then, rest in God. Let us praise Him for giving us such a glorious revelation of His purposes.
All along our pathway, God places the flowers of promise to brighten our journey. But many refuse to gather these flowers, choosing instead the thorns and thistles. At every step they weep and mourn, when they might rejoice in the Lord because He has made the road to heaven so pleasant.
As we look at the promises of God, we find comfort and hope and joy; for they speak to us the words of the Infinite One. Properly to appreciate these precious promises, we should study them carefully, examining them in detail. How much joy we might bring into life, how much goodness into the character, if we would but make these promises our own! As we journey in the upward way, let us talk of the blessings strewn along the path. As we think of the mansions Christ is preparing for us, we forget the petty annoyances which we meet day by day. We seem to breathe the atmosphere of the heavenly country to which we are journeying, and we are soothed and comforted.
Do not think to find happiness in selfish amusement. The flowers thus gathered soon wither and die. True happiness is found only in the Master's service. In Him who is the Light of the world we shall find comfort and hope. Our happiness comes not from what is around us, but from what is within us; not from what we have, but from what we are.
It is our privilege to sing the songs of Zion now, to turn our eyes to the light, to bring hope into our own hearts and into the hearts of others. God wants us to gather His promises, that we may be strengthened and refreshed. Let us take our eyes from the curse, and fix them on the grace so abundantly provided for us. God is dishonoured when we fret and worry. Thus we show that we are not trusting in Him, but in ourselves.
This life will have much brightness for us if we will gather the flowers and leave the briers alone. Comfort, encouragement, and support have been provided for every circumstance and condition of life. No temptation comes to us that Christ has not withstood, no trial that He has not borne. He knows each one of us by name. When a burden is placed on us, He stands by, to lift the heaviest weight. He has given us precious promises to lighten every burden. He assures us that His grace is sufficient. Today we have His help. Tomorrow we may be placed in new circumstances of trial, but the promise stands fast, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be."
Let us rejoice in the love of God. Let us praise Him who has made us such royal promises. Let these promises keep our hearts in perfect peace. Let us honour God by weaving more of Jesus and heaven into our lives. Jesus lives. His hand is guiding us. This present life is not the summer but the winter of the Christian, nevertheless He may constantly enjoy the sunbeams of Christ's righteousness. He may have in His heart the peace "which passeth all understanding," even the peace which Christ gives.
Published in The Youth's Instructor, January 23, 1902.