With Love, from the Editresses
Through the intervening months when we published the spring issue, a poem, “Through Sunshine and Shadow,” has been on my heart to share with you. As I tried to write an editorial this season, as is our custom, the Lord just did not give us words to write, but brought this poem again to mind. We trust it will prove a blessing to you, as it has been so encouraging to me.
Through Sunshine and Shadow
I beheld the King in His beauty,
In His glorious majesty shine;
He held out the golden scepter,
I knelt in His presence Divine.
My soul was filled with emotion,
As upward I glanced as He smiled,
And said in tender compassion,
“What is thy request, My child?”
My lips could no longer be silent,
My heart its longing outpoured,
O Savior! I want to be like Thee—
No other request have I, Lord—
I want to love Thee supremely,
My heart, filled with Thy praise,
More tender, gentle, and loving,
The fallen I might he1p raise.
More sympathy for the discouraged,
More love for Thy children, too,
I long to be filled with Thy Spirit,
This heart of mine flowing through.
Not I; but only Thou, Lord,
Shine through my life each day,
Leading the wanderer back to the stream,
That washes all sin away.
I read in the Word that Jesus,
The debt for sin had paid,
There on Calvary’s mountain
The sacrifice had been made.
“It is finished,” said Christ, my Redeemer,
And I need no longer to wait,
That I might have life “more abundant,”
He suffered without the gate.
One night in the dear old chapel,
With the saints of God so near
I knelt at the cross of Jesus,
The place to me most dear.
I tarried there for power,
Of the Holy Ghost above,
Who carried my soul on the billows,
Of that boundless ocean of love.
I had made my reconsecration,
Of all I knew to give,
When the Spirit sweetly whispered,
“This parcel wilt thou receive?”
I looked and behold, ’twas from Jesus,
“Your Future,” He said to me;
From my heart ‘rose an “Amen, Jesus,
I give it all to Thee.”
I looked at the parcel He gave me,
And saw ’twas “Instructions Sealed,”
And only as I should need them,
Would their contents be revealed.
There surely would be some surprises,
As I open them one by one,
But I’ve given my all to Jesus,
Saying, “Thy will be done.”
As my all was laid on the altar,
The fire of Heaven came down;
The Holy Ghost filled the temple,
My heart was no longer my own.
I went on my way rejoicing,
As happy as mortal could be,
No thorns did I find in my pathway,
Though roses were blooming for me.
So charmed was I with my treasure,
My heart was singing all day;
Unseen by me were the storm clouds,
That were hovering over my way.
The skies had been gathering blackness:
Shadows were growing deep,
I found some thorns in my pathway,
And the road was rough and steep.
Then, in the lowering darkness,
I knelt a moment to pray,
“O! Precious, loving Savior,
Can it be that I have lost my way?
Surely I’ve wandered from Thee,
Thy way cannot be so hard.”
My heart was filled with sadness,
And my body was racked with pain,
For affliction had fastened upon me,
And life seemed all in vain.
I prayed that this cup of sorrow
From me might pass away;
Yet—only Thy will, my Savior,
With me, Lord, have Thy way.
I prayed, but the heavens were silent,
No answer to me was given,
But ere I became discouraged,
I heard a voice so loving;
I listened and, lo! ’twas Jesus,
In tones so sweet and mild,
Said, “Open the parcel I gave thee,
Take courage, My trusting child.”
My strength was renewed like the eagles
Though my eyes were dim,
I read in the deepening twilight
This message received from Him:
“In the furnace of sore affliction,
Behold I have chosen thee.
From thy heart all dross must vanish,
If My image I there would see.”
Like a dream the past came before me,
I now remember my prayer,
I had prayed to be like Jesus,
His likeness I wanted to bear.
Ah, yes! If I would be like Him,
His suffering I, too, must share,
For only he that endureth,
A crown of glory shall wear.
So onward I’ll go rejoicing!
I’ll trust where I cannot trace,
His presence is ever with me,
Though clouds may hide His face;
Some day the veil will be lifted,
Some day faith will be sight,
By His grace—in those pearly mansions,
I shall walk with Him in white.
(Copyright 1927 by Anna Altman. As far as we know, this copyright is expired.)
Be encouraged, dear sisters, to yield all to the Lord and walk with Him fully on our life’s journey. Our prayers are with you and we appreciate yours in return.
With love in Him,
“Do you know what Kara said to ——? She said we always talk about getting married in our late night discussions!”
Laura recently informed me of the above, to which I simply grinned and shook my head. ’Tis true, I must admit, to a certain extent; but not as exaggerated as it seems from what our 3rd sister said. Sporadically we lovingly and laughingly tease each other with, “Oh, I fear for your husband…” or “I know what your children will be like!” Other times our talk will border on solemnity when we discuss the lessons that need learning or the weak areas to be strengthened. Yet more, we exhort each other to be consecrated and to delight in each new day the Lord gives us.
Okay, so it may seem like always? However, in reality the topic doesn’t come up on a daily basis, or even a weekly basis.
But can you guess how often it has occupied my thoughts, and I dare say the thoughts of my other two sisters?
It is to be expected, as we’re raised in a godly home with the principles of Biblical womanhood being taught us, along with the training for the next stage in life when, Lord willing, we shall fulfill the high and holy calling of motherhood.
It is to be even more anticipated, because we’re young ladies who are striving to obey our Master and His Word. And He’s called us, for the most part, to be women, in the greatest sense of the word help meets, mothers and home keepers.
Granted, there will be those whom He sees fit to keep single, for purposes that maybe He alone will know of. Yet there, too, will be sweet joy, because the Lord will be with them and be their complete Sufficiency.
Shortly before I came to Christ—almost three years ago—I was a very different young woman. I wore the attire of the world and my attitude and deportment were as becometh someone of the world. My mind was pretty much set for how my life would go: school, college to become a lawyer (in other words, to be financially well off), possibly marriage, but no children. Sad, isn’t it?
When the love of God was shed abroad in my heart, everything changed. My old desires and ways were conformed to what God desired and His ways. Wrong and worldly attitudes were made pliable in His hands to change through time. (Old habits are hard to change overnight.) His standards became my standards and His will became my will. I no longer had the mind set or desires mentioned above.
Biblical womanhood quickly became my desire and purpose. I started to delight in the thought of being a keeper at home. And as the years went by and I turned 15, 16, 17, marriage and the next stage ahead occupied my thoughts quite frequently. I justified them to a certain extent, thinking these were natural desires. Yet God started speaking to me about something better… for this stage in life.
Believe it or not, I have very few close friends outside the home. My family has become my closest friends, and I have a few close friends outside the family as well. Recently, my heart was saddened over the lost friendships that were once special and sweet. Many friends through the mail had either quit writing for lack of time or they were just not interested in writing anymore.
But Jesus, in the midst of my pondering and discouragement, said, “Skye, I will be your Friend.” Hadn’t I known this all along? Hadn’t Jesus been my Comfort and Stay through the trying scenes of life? Why, then, did I forget to think of Him as my Truest Friend? What kinder, more compassionate friend can I have?
We yearn for friends to share with and encourage and, later, husbands to be united with in life. Yet what about making Jesus our Best Friend and Closest Confidant? He has precious lessons for each one of us, if we’ll but take the time to sit lowly at His feet. Our Lord said of Mary, she “hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42) Will He say that of us, too?
In The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life Hannah Whitall Smith says:
There are many relations in life which require from the different parties only very moderate degrees of devotion. We may have really pleasant friendships with one another, and yet spend a large part of our lives in separate interests, and widely differing pursuits. When together, we may greatly enjoy one another’s society, and find many congenial points; but separation is not any especial distress to us, and other and more intimate friendships do not interfere. There is not enough love between us, to give us either the right or the desire to enter into and share one another’s most private affairs. A certain degree of reserve and distance is the suitable thing, we feel. But there are other relations in life where all this is changed. The friendship becomes love. The two hearts give themselves to one another, to be no longer two but one. A union of souls takes place, which makes all that belongs to one the property of the other. Separate interests and separate paths in life are no longer possible. Things which were lawful before become unlawful now, because of the nearness of the tie that binds. The reserve and distance suitable to mere friendship becomes fatal in love. Love gives all, and must have all in return. The wishes of one become binding obligations to the other, and the deepest desire of each heart is, that it may know every secret wish or longing of the other, in order that it may fly on the wings of the wind to gratify it.
Ah! dear souls, if you have ever known this even for a few hours in any earthly relation; if you have ever loved a fellow human being enough to find sacrifice and service on their behalf a joy; if a whole-souled abandonment of your will to the will of another has ever gleamed across you as a blessed and longed-for privilege, or as a sweet and precious reality, then, by all the tender longing love of your heavenly Master, would I entreat you to let it be so towards God!
He loves you with more than the love of friendship. As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so does He rejoice over you, and nothing but a full surrender will satisfy Him. He has given you all, and He asks for all in return. The slightest reserve will grieve Him to the heart. He spared not Himself, and how can you spare yourself? For your sake He poured out in a lavish abandonment all that He had, and for His sake you must pour out all that you have without stint or measure.
I think that perhaps we often forget Jesus really can be our Best Friend because we can’t have an audio/visual relationship, face to face. Yet He willingly condescends, yea even desires, to have a close, personal relationship with us. His actions prove it. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
How willingly and lovingly Christ gave Himself for us, as His bride! This is a beautiful portrayal of a Christian’s life, especially for us young women who often dream of a husband to love and be loved by. Now is the time for us, who have been redeemed from a life of slavery to sin, to begin building a relationship with Jesus, as our rightful and heavenly Bridegroom. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7)
How can we build our relationship with our Heavenly Bridegroom?
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving…. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:6-7,9-10)
Our Heavenly Bridegroom designed for us to find our “second half” in Him. Completeness in marriage is a blessing from God—when one part is gone, it is incomplete. Without Christ, we are incomplete, spiritually. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John 15:4) Jesus meant to fit in our lives to supply the places where we are lacking, and “success” will only come about by how well we build our relationship with Christ.
Just as a husband/wife relationship is built on trust, so our relationship with our Heavenly Bridegroom begins with trust. By trusting Him, we can learn to bring all our cares, fears, joys, and sorrows to Him. Trust is believing what we might not be able to actually see at the time, but what we know, from His promise, is to come. Trust is a vital key, for the Lord has made believing the condition of receiving. It is only when we trust the Lord that we can fully submit ourselves to Him and His perfect way.
Trust Him because He has promised to be our provider. Many of us seem to forget that, and act like a young bride trying to eke out something to survive on when her bridegroom owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
Someone related a story about a lady who struggled every single morning with trusting God. She’d worry and fret and struggle until at last she could rest in the Lord and give all her troubles over to Him. One day, someone asked her, “Sister, why don’t you just trust God in the first place?” She replied, “Oh, I never thought of that.”
How many of us can honestly admit that we haven’t frequently done the same thing? Often we cling to our burdens and wrestle until we’re so wearied that we plunge it into God’s hands out of frustration. Yet Christ has promised to supply all our needs, to bear all our burdens, even to give us, as His bride what is best. Wouldn’t it be so much better just to trust Him first?
Take every burden and care quickly to Jesus. And don’t take them back again. Take that strength—our strength—which often seems us so mighty, yet we find so miserably weak, to Jesus. Let Him be your Strength, your Burden-bearer. He will willingly take our cares and troubles, if only we would submit ourselves, with perfect trust, into His hands. If we will do this, it will reduce our frustration and stress level down to zero and mightily increase our peace.
Trust comes forth out of love. Love is the key that binds heart to heart. Jesus loves us with a perfect love and desires to give us this fruit of the Spirit. It is by growing in the life of Christ, that unselfish Divine love, that we can truly live a life pleasing to Him. Let us deny ourselves, and follow after that charity which “suffereth long, and is kind… envieth not… vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
“Love often hurts, doesn’t it?”
I found myself saying that recently to someone who’s going through hard times and was sharing with me about her fears. Many of us, I believe, are prone to think of life’s worst. Once we get on this train of thought, the enemy very easily manages us into thinking, “what if this?” or, “what about that?” The devil will try his very hardest to plant doubts and fears in our mind. We need God’s perfect, trusting love, for “” (1 John 4:18) When we have given ourselves completely into the keeping of our Heavenly Bridegroom, through love, there is no reason for us to fear and doubt Him.
In His faithfulness and perfect understanding of our needs, the Lord gives us trials and tests to beautify our souls. By allowing trials and afflictions, God is “spoiling us of what otherwise might have spoiled us.” “Afflictions make the heart more deep, more experimental, more knowing and profound, and so, more able to hold, to contain, and bear more.” “As out of Jesus’ affliction came a new sense of God’s love and a new basis for love between men, so out of our affliction we may grasp the splendor of God’s love and how to love one another. Thus the consummation of the two commandments was on Golgotha and the Cross is, at once, their image and their fulfillment.” (Sir John Powell, John Bunyan, Malcolm Muggeridge.)
Out of great love and Divine understanding, does our Lord give us trials to refine and perfect us. Will we be faithful to return that love to Him? Will we count our trials more precious than gold or silver, which perish? Will we allow Him to have full reign within our hearts?
“My beloved is mine, and I am his.” (Song 2:16) By abiding in the Lord, finding our completeness in Him as the Bridegroom of our souls, we will experience the sweetest joy our souls have ever known. Let us not waste this precious time by allowing our hearts to wander to the dreams of the future. “Set your affections on things above.” (Colossians 3:1) Fall in love with Jesus; you will never experience any greater earthly bliss!
With love and prayers for you all,