Category Archives: Archbishop and Presiding Prelate

THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

Whatever suggested the image of our text, the inward meaning of it is explicit. It is the long cry of the human heart for the forgiveness and comforting of God. There are times when the deepest craving of the soul is for something higher than itself. The self-reliance of our sunny hours is lost in a deep feeling of dependence. And that deep feeling of dependence, expressed in many relationships of life, is never satisfied nor perfected until it finds its rest in God. Now when the heart is overwhelmed (as was the Psalmist’s) there always falls a dimness on the eye. The rock of safety may be very near, but the mist hangs heavy, and we cannot see it. It is then the soul betakes itself to prayer and like the shipwrecked sailor or the desert, wanderer supplicates heavenly guidance to the refuge. There is a rock higher than our highest, but we all need to be led to it. No one can by searching find out God. And how we are led there by a most loving guidance, whether it be of providence or grace, is the question which arises from our text.

The Experience of Failure

We see, for instance, how often men are led to the Rock by the bitter experience of failure. Man’s extremity of need is heaven’s opportunity for leadership. A pastor friend of mine was once traveling on a train shared his experience with me. He said, “he was joined by a well-known merchant whose affairs were on the point of bankruptcy. And quite naturally, after a little talk, the merchant asked (my friend) if he would pray for him, and there in the carriage of the train, they knelt down and prayed. He was a strong, self-reliant man, that merchant. He was not given to asking help of anybody. But now the deepest craving of his heart was for something higher than himself on which to rest.”

And much of what is difficult in life, and overwhelming to the point of heartbreak, is but the kindly stratagem of heaven to lead us to the higher Rock. Those hours of heart-sinking familiar to us all, the feeling that we have spent our strength for nothing, the deep conviction which visits us in secret that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags–such things, for ten thousand souls, have been the hidden leadership of heaven to the Rock that is higher than themselves. Deep is calling unto deep, the deep of misery to that of mercy. Out of the depths, man is always crying. And though he often knows not what he cries for, God knows and answers through the dark by leading the overwhelmed soul to Himself.

Devotion to the Best

Again, we note how often men are led thither by lowly devotion to the best. Loyal to the highest that they know, they are confronted by the higher Rock. If this universe is not a righteous universe and if love lies not at the heart of things, what use is there in striving to be righteous or in making love the passion of our lives? But the strange thing is that whenever a man is loyal to the best and worthiest he knows, he is never left with questions like that. He is led upward from his cherished loyalties to something loftier than his loyalties. It is a Rock, solid and impregnable; the Rock on which the universe is built. He passes upward from his values to the reality of what he values; he discovers he has aligned himself with God.

When men live for love and truth and mercy, God is always walking in their garden. They come to feel with deepening conviction that the things they strive for are not passing dreams but answer to the realities of heaven. Do your duty, though it is very irksome, and do it because it is your duty; be tender-hearted, forgiving one another, no matter how you are tempted to be hard; and above you, over-arching you, the reality of what you strive for, you will discover God who is our Rock. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me.” To be true to the highest that we know is to be led to the Rock that is still higher. “Madam,” said the preacher once to a lady lamenting she had lost the Lord, “go down and work in the slums and you will find Him.”

The Guiding Hand of Christ

But, above all, we are led to the Rock that is higher by the guiding hand of Christ–“no man cometh to the Father but by me.” When we crave for the certainty that God is love, we may turn in vain to nature or to history. Nature and history have many voices, but they never cry, “I am the way.” Only Christ proclaims Himself the way to One higher than our highest thought because deeper than our deepest need. Thus, although the Psalmist did not know it, he saw the day of Christ and he was glad. It was for Christ that he was yearning in that passionate outcry of his spirit. It is He who takes us by the hand and leads us where philosophy can never lead us, to Love, to a Father on the throne, to “the rock that is higher than I.”

POLISH COMES THROUGH TROUBLE

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;” (Isaiah 49:2).

Somewhere I read of this very famous beach called “Pebble Beach”, on the California coast. The long line of white surf comes up with its everlasting roar, and rattles and thunders among the stones on the shore. They are caught in the arms of the pitiless waves, and tossed and rolled, and rubbed together, and ground against the sharp-grained cliffs. Day and night forever the ceaseless attrition goes on–never any rest. And the result?

Tourists from all the world flock thither to gather the round and beautiful stones. They are laid up in cabinets; they ornament the parlor mantels. But go yonder, around the point of the cliff that breaks off the force of the sea; and up in that quiet cove, sheltered from the storms, and lying ever in the sun, you shall find an abundance of pebbles that have never been chosen by the traveler.

Why are these left all the years through unsought? For the simple reason that they have escaped all the turmoil and attrition of the waves, and the quiet and peace have left them as they found them, rough and angular and devoid of beauty. Polish comes through the trouble.

Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to shape us into it. Since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to drill us into the proper preparation.

“O blows that smite! O hurts that pierce This shrinking heart of mine! What are ye but the Master’s tools Forming a work Divine?”

“Nearly all God’s jewels are crystallized tears.”

And when you see a Christian looking weary and can hardly take himself to the next location, thing one thing and that he is going through a process in the hands of God. God is taking him through some trouble before He can polish him and set him aside for His service. Becoming a Leader is not an overnight job and there is no time frame for him to function.

Let me indicate here that it took Moses forty years in the making and another forty years before God was able to accomplish His purpose. During the second forty years, Aaron was in training preparing to take over from Moses.

Our problem today is everyone wants to be in front and do not know where they are going. Everyone wants a big title and they are paying big money to attain it. Others are trying to come through the back door for the same purpose but no one wants to be trained for the job.  Even with all the training sometimes you break and can lose all your previous accomplishments.

Basic skills like reading, proper writing, communicating and confidentiality will take you to a higher level. May God bless and keep you.

CHRIST SOMETIMES DELAYS HIS HELP

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.” (Song of Solomon 5:6).

The Lord, when He hath given great faith, hath been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered His servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained unmovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased Him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to His own pleasure. If it pleases Him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall He not do as He will with His own!

No prayer is lost. Praying breath was never spent in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things that we count refusals or denials are simply delays.

Christ sometimes delays His help that He may try our faith and quicken our prayers. The boat may be covered with the waves, and He sleeps on, but He will wake up before it sinks. He sleeps, but He never oversleeps, and there are no “too lates” with Him.

Be still, sad soul! lift thou no passionate cry, But spread the desert of thy being bare To the full searching of the All-seeing eye; Wait! and through dark misgiving, black despair,

God will come down in pity, and fill the dry Dead place with light, and life, and vernal air.

FEAR AND FAITH

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3

Let us consider for a little while some of the springs of human fear, and then notice how many of our fears spring from the imagination. It has been said (and I think truly said) that life is ruled by the imagination. The things we picture and weave in glowing colors have a very powerful influence over conduct. Often that influence is stimulative, illumining the pathway to discovery; often it creates or liberates fear. People who are highly sensitive are far more apt to be fearful than their neighbours. There are a hundred fears that never touch the man of stolid, unimaginative nature. That is why for a certain type of person to be brave may be comparatively easy, and for another infinitely hard.

Now, the worst thing about this kind of fear is that reason is powerless to allay it. You might as soon allay a fire with good advice. The argument is cold. It cannot banish the specters of the soul. It has no brush that can obliterate the pictures of the imagination. But there is another way, more powerful than reason, to overcome imaginative fears, and that is the way of this inspired Psalmist. Faith is the antidote to fear. It quiets fear as the mother quiets her child. The child still dreams, but the dreams are not reality. It is the mother’s arms that are a reality. So we, His children, dreaming in the darkness and sometimes very frightened by our dreams, find “underneath the everlasting arms.”

Weakness of Body

Another very common source of fear is weakness or frailty of body. Everyone is familiar with that. When we are strong and well it is not difficult to keep our fears at bay. Fears, like microbes, do not love the sunshine. They need the darkness for their propagation. That is why, when the lights of life are dim, we readily become the prey of fearfulness. We can bear burdens without a thought when we are strong and vigorous and well; we can meet tasks with quiet hearts; we can bravely face difficulties–but these seem insurmountable when we are worn and often plunge us into the lowest pit. We must never forget how the state of the mind is affected by the condition of the body. Health is not alone the source of happiness. It is one of the perennial springs of hope. Many of our vague uncharted fears which haunt us and rob us of the sunshine are rooted in the frailty of our bodies.

Now I have no doubt that many of my readers are far from being physically perfect. The fact is, there are very few of us who could be described as physically perfect. And to all such, whatever their condition, I want to give these wonderful words of Scripture: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” He knows our frame. He remembers we are dust. He made us and He Understand us. He alone can perfectly appreciate the interactions of body and of mind. And when we trust Him in a childlike faith, nothing is more evident in life than the way in which He disappoints our fears. His grace is sufficient for us. Often when we are weak, then are we strong. Drawing from Him we find we have our fullness, given us daily as the manna was, until at last the “body of our humiliation” shall be fashioned like His glorious body, and then such fears will be laid to rest forever.

Faculty of Conscience

I close by naming one other source of fear, and that is the faculty of conscience. A guilty conscience is a fearing conscience—-conscience makes cowards of us all. If we could get rid of conscience, what fears would go whistling down the wind! But God has so created us, that that is the one thing we cannot do. We may drug and dope it, we may silence it, we may sear it as with an iron, but, like the maiden, it is not dead but sleeping. It awakens in unexpected seasons, sometimes in the stillness of the night, or when our loved ones are removed in death, or when we see our sins bearing fruit in others; perhaps most often in our dying hours when the flaming colors of time no longer blind us and we draw near to the revelation of eternity. All the fears of our imagination, all the fears that spring from weakly bodies, all these, however haunting, are nothing to the fears of conscience. And the tremendous fact, never to be disputed by any theory of its evolution, is that God has put a conscience in the breast.

But He who has put a conscience in the breast has done something more wonderful than that. To minister relief to fearing conscience, He has put His Only-begotten on the tree. There, explain it as you will, is freedom from the hideous fears of conscience. There, explain it as you will, is released from the terrors of our guilt. One trustful look at the Lord Jesus Christ dying upon the cross of Calvary and the fearfulness of conscience is no more. There is now therefore no more condemnation. Pardoned, we have joy and peace. God is for us on the cross, and if God be for us, who can be against us? Blessed Saviour, who didst die for us and whose blood cleanseth from all sin, What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

 KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

A life was lost in Israel because a pair of human hands were laid unbidden upon the ark of God. They were placed upon it with the best intentions, to steady it when trembling and shaking as the oxen drew it along the rough way; but they touched God’s work presumptuously, and they fell paralyzed and lifeless. Much of the life of faith consists in letting things alone.

If we wholly trust an interest in God, we must keep our hands off it; and He will guard it for us better than we can help Him. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

Things may seem to be going all wrong, but He knows as well as we; and He will arise in the right moment if we are really trusting Him so fully as to let Him work in His own way and time. There is nothing so masterly as inactivity in some things, and there is nothing so hurtful as restless working, for God has undertaken to work His sovereign will.

“Being perplexed, I say, ‘Lord, make it right! The night is as day to Thee, Darkness as light. I am afraid to touch Things that involve so much; My trembling hand may shake, My skilless hand may break; Thine can make no mistake.’

“Being in doubt I say, ‘Lord, make it plain; Which is the true, safe way? Which would be gain? I am not wise to know, Nor sure of foot to go; What is so clear to Thee, Lord, make it clear to me!'”

It is such a comfort to drop the tangles of life into God’s hands and leave them there. You cannot help God in any way. Your intentions may be good but God does not need your help. Stay in your lane and watch Him work and bring His plan to fulfillment.

HOLD FAST

“But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.” (Revelation 2:25).

The other day we asked a Jewish friend how it was that his countrymen were so successful in acquiring wealth. “Ah,” said he, “we do not make more money than other people, but we keep more.”  The save for rainy days and when they cannot work they have secured an investment. Beloved, let us look out this day for spiritual pickpockets and spiritual leakage. Let us “lose nothing of what we have wrought, but receive a full reward”; and, as each day comes and goes, let us put away in the savings bank of eternity its treasures of grace and victory, and so be conscious from day to day that something real and everlasting is being added to our eternal fortune.

It may be but a little, but if we only economize all that God gives us, and pass it on to His keeping, when the close shall come we shall be amazed to see how much the accumulated treasures of a well-spent life have laid up on high, and how much more He has added to them by His glorious investment of the life committed to His keeping.

Oh, how the days are telling! Oh, how precious these golden hours will seem sometime! God help us to make the most of them now. It is time to lay up treasures in heaven and not on earth. So many have invested on this earth in earthly things. The cares of the world and when death comes they wonder why so many heartaches. I urge you to make wise choices before it is to late.

DAILY DEFILEMENTS

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they are many that fight against me, O thou most High.” Psalm 56:2

There are some enemies which only come to us at interludes. But you will note that it was different with the psalmist. It was rarely and briefly that his enemies fell upon him to destroy him. What inspired his bitter cry was that every day he lived he was in peril: “Mine enemies would daily swallow me up.” He never woke with a heart that was at peace saying, “Thank God all is well today.” At any moment he might hear the ringing of the battle cry. And it was that which almost broke his heart and drove him into a wild despair to God and robbed him of all power to be happy.

Now, who the Psalmist’s chief enemy was we don’t know, but if we don’t know his, at least we know our own. The deadliest enemy we have to fight is the sin. That is the power bent on our destruction which we must conquer somehow or be crushed. There are certain sins, like certain enemies, that give us times of rest between their onsets. There are certain temptations which, being foiled today, may not return until a year has passed. But there are others, like the Psalmist’s foes, whose peculiar characteristic is just this, that every morning when we wake up, we dread them, and every day we live we have to battle with them.

I suppose there is no one reading this who cannot remember a day when he fell terribly. Have we not all had hours when we defied the right and broke down every barrier of conscience? My brother and sister, in whose heart such hours are living in all their bitterness, remember that there are other sins than these. When a soldier is out on a campaign, there may come a day when he is wounded. The bullet has found him and his rifle drops and he cries for water as they lift him, but remember that every day that he marches, and many a day there is no thought of wounds, there is the gathering of dust upon his arms. Let that dust gather, and in a little while, you would scarcely recognize him as a soldier. Let that dust gather, and in a week or two, his very rifle will be a useless instrument.

And so with us too as we take up the spiritual warfare; there may come a day when we are badly wounded, but always and every day there is the defilement of the march. There are the dust and soil of the everyday road. There are temptations that reach us not like a storm, but like the gentle falling of the rain.

Although seemingly minor and insignificant, these sins of everyday rob us of our present joy and peace. It is these which write lines upon the brow and bring the look of uneasiness into the eye. You may destroy the lute by breaking it in two, and there are homes and hearts ruined like that. But a little crack within the lute makes all the music mute, and so is it with our little sins.

Blocked Channels

I read this article I will share with you. Some fifty or more years ago the United Kingdom there was a new weed. It was a pond weed living in the water, and so it found its way to the canals, and it was a little and inconspicuous thing to which nobody except the botanists gave heed. Would you believe it, that in thirty years the canals were being choked by it? It blocked the channel, delayed the passing ships, threatened the very existence of the waterway. And it was far more difficult than ice to deal with for ice can be broken with sufficient pressure, but all the pressure in the world was powerless against this living and compliant tangle.

Brothers and sisters, you may be sure of this, that true peace demands an open channel, an unobstructed way to God if one is to walk with music in his heart. And I say that no tragic fall so blocks the channel between earth and heaven as do these daily little and unnoticed sins that grow and gather in the passing days.

It does not take a wound in the eye to make the eye a source of misery. Lodge only a grain of sand within its orb, and all the pleasure of vision vanishes. And so for multitudes who are not reprobate, who have been saved by Christ, there is no joy, no peace, no song, because of the intrusion of the little sins.

I know a meadow not five miles away from where thirty years ago the trees were beautiful, and men would travel to see them in the summer for there were few elms like them by the Clyde. And now half of these elms are dead, and for the others, summer is a mockery. And it wasn’t a storm that did it: it was the daily pollution of our Babylon. They are still rooted in the finest soil, and you too may be rooted in Christ Jesus. No one would question that your deepest life is hidden with Christ in God. But even so rooted, you may miss the joy of your salvation, and miss it because every day you live you are subtly and insensibly defiled.

Little Sins Foster Despair

Such daily defilements have a peculiar power of fostering despair. They are like sickness in that point of view, and you know that sickness is a type of sin. Let a man be stricken with some sudden illness, and my experience is that he does not despair. Doctors will confirm this. It is not then that he loses hope or meditates to death. He summons all the strength that God has given him that he may battle the disease. Or if he is too weak for that, for disease in a day may make us weak as water, then he lies there, not in dull despair, but in a strange and acquiescent peace.

I shall tell you when it is that even the bravest is brought near the margin of despair. It is when every day and all day there is the gnawing away of some hidden malady. It is when a man goes to work and mingles with his fellows in the street, and all the time, like a dull undertone is conscious that there is something wrong. It is that which leads so often to despair. It is that which makes the thought of death familiar. It is that which is the secret, never guessed at, of many a startling and unexpected suicide. And I feel that in the realm of sin which is so strangely linked with that of sickness, there is something analogous to that. Did you ever know of anyone despairing after a terrible and tragic fall? I never read of any in the Scripture. I never saw any in my ministry. But ah, how many I have seen who come to despair of ever attaining the highest–they were so crushed, so humbled and disheartened by the defilement of their daily sins. It is our little sins and not our great sins which have such a terrible power to make us hopeless. For our great sins cast us upon Jesus, and there is always hope when we are there. But our little sins leave us with ourselves and seem to mock us when we seek the highest, and tempt us to think that what we hoped for once must always be impossible for us.

How to Deal With Daily Defilement

One thing at least is clear, and that is that we must never contemplate escape by flight. If God has given us our work to do, then we must continue with it in spite of all the soiling. There can be no escape from daily sin by flying from the path of daily duty. It is such dreams that build monasteries, and many a monastery becomes like Sodom. You remember how Peter, on the mount of glory, wanted to build tabernacles there. He wanted to live forever in that solitude where all the voices of the world were hushed. And then the Saviour led him down again, right into the jostling of the crowd, and Peter learned that life was not given for a hermitage.

What would you think of a man who left his home here and the business he made his living by all because amid our grimy streets his face and hands grew dirty every day? Yet he who seeks to fly from his daily task because of the temptations which it carries and the defilement it inevitably brings is just as cowardly and absurd. Either you must conquer where you are, or you will not conquer anywhere. Flee from the devil, and he will resist you. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Do you recall that hour when Christ washed His disciples’ feet? Do you recall the word He said to Peter, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit”? My brother and sister, in that great word of Christ’s there, lies the Master’s answer to our question. There is His treatment of the daily stain. He that is washed–and Peter had been washed. He had been bathed in the spirit of his Lord. Once and for all, coming to Jesus Christ, his guilt had been washed away forever. And now says Jesus, “Let me wash thy feet; let me cleanse off the soil of the daily walk”; and what He said to Simon Peter then, He says to you and me. I do believe that when a man is saved, he is saved not for a time but for eternity. I do believe that when we look to Christ, in that very moment all our sin is pardoned. But every day we need another cleansing for we have been traveling by dusty roads, and Christ is always stooping and ready to bestow His forgiveness. Do not rest at night till thou hast had it, my sister and brother. Summon the hours of the day before thee. Put forth thy feet and let Him wash them, for they are very dusty with the journey. So when thou awakest, thou shalt again be clean and ready for everything the day may bring, glad about the confidence of him who sang, “When I awake I am still with Thee.”

GOD HAS CHOSEN ME

Sir Godfrey Gregg D. Div

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10).

Does not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yes, is it not an asbestos armor, against which the heat has no power? Let the affliction come–God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayest stride in at my door; but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayest intrude; but I have a balsam ready–God has chosen me. Whatever befall me in this vale of tears, I know that He has chosen me.

Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, His presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not, for I am with thee,” is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in “the furnace of affliction.” I have been cast aside, lied on, scandal and hurt by some of the very people that sat and sup with me. Those I have helped has seen it fit to be the most horrible towards me. But I have good news for you. Though you slay me, yet will I trust Him and today I am not broken but I am made stronger. My message is not to bring you back to the table of repentance, but in all your ways acknowledge God and let Him direct your path.

Pain’s furnace heat within me quivers, God’s breath upon the flame doth blow; And all my heart in anguish shivers And trembles at the fiery glow; And yet I whisper, “As God will!” And in the hottest fire hold still.

He comes and lays my heart, all heated, On the hard anvil, minded so Into His own fair shape to beat it With His great hammer, blow on blow; And yet I whisper, “As God will!” And at His heaviest blows hold still.

He takes my softened heart and beats it; The sparks fly off at every blow; He turns it o’er and o’er and heats it, And lets it cool, and makes it glow; And yet I whisper, “As God will!” And in His mighty hand hold still.

Why should I murmur? for the sorrow Thus only longer-lived would be; The end may come, and will tomorrow When God has done His work in me; So I say trusting, “As God will!” And, trusting to the end, hold still.

The burden of suffering seems a tombstone hung about our necks, while in reality, it is only the weight which is necessary to keep down the diver while he is hunting for pearls. The road may look well to walk but there is a Hill of Difficulty we have to climb. O, for a thousand tongues to sing our great Redeemer praise. We are ready to cross over and I say come with me.

TRUE HABITS

Sir Godfrey Gregg

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:” (Colossians 2:6).

It is much easier to keep the fire burning than to rekindle it after it has gone out. Let us abide in Him. Let us not have to remove the cinders and ashes from our hearthstones every day and kindle a new flame, but let us keep it burning and never let it expire. Among the ancient Greeks the sacred fire was never allowed to go out; so, in a higher sense, let us keep the heavenly flame aglow upon the altar of the heart.

It takes very much less effort to maintain a good habit than to form it. A true spiritual habit once formed becomes a spontaneous tendency of our being, and we grow into delightful freedom in following it. “Let us not be ever laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, but let us go on unto perfection, and whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same things.”

Every spiritual habit begins with difficulty and effort and watchfulness, but if we will only let it get thoroughly established, it will become a channel along which currents of life will flow with divine spontaneousness and freedom.

My brothers and sisters, we are called to a place of worship and establishment. However, there are certain preparations to be made and secure a solid foundation. It, therefore, behooves us to find the foundation which has been laid and continue to build there. Jesus told Peter He will build the church on a certain rock. That could only be the revelation of His word. So, let us continue to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life. Blessings all.

THE TRIUMPH OF TRUST

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.” Psalm 55:23

The value of a word and the power that it has over our hearts depends largely upon the man who speaks it and on the circumstances of its utterance. When Paul said to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice,” how inexpressibly these words are deepened by the circumstances of the Apostle–no longer young nor free, but a prisoner in a Roman cell with his life-work seemingly shattered at his feet. Living words have the quality of life. They are born and bear the fashion of their birth. They may be robbed of meaning or may be filled with meaning, by the hour in which the spirit utters them. So it seems to me the only way to enter into the grandeur of our text is to learn the circumstances of the Psalm. What kind of man was this who said so confidently: “But I will trust in thee?” What were his circumstances? Was he happy? Was everything going very well with him? A study of the psalm will show us that.

The Psalmist Was a Man Unanswered

First, note that he was a man unanswered. He knew the bitterness of heaven’s silence. His opening cry in our deep psalm is this: “Hide not thyself from my supplication” (Psalm 55:1).

It is an easy thing to trust in God when swiftly and certainly our prayers are answered. There are some who read this column whose life is a compact of answered prayer. But when we pray and the face of God is hidden, and we are restless because heaven is silent–it is often difficult to trust Him then. Especially is that true of intercession when we have been praying for someone who is dear, that God would spare a life or kill a habit or bring the beloved prodigal home again. To continue trusting when we have prayed like that and the prayers have seemed to go whistling down the wind, is one of the hardest tasks in human life. The splendid thing is that the psalmist did it. He refused to regard silence as indifference. He knew that a thousand days are as one day to God and that sometimes love delays the chariot wheels. Heaven might be silent and the face of God averted and all the comfort of fellowship withdrawn, but “I will trust in thee.”

The Psalmist Was Afraid

Observe next, he was a man afraid. “The terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me” (Psalm 55:4-5). Now if the writer of this psalm was David, he was one of the bravest souls who ever lived. As a shepherd lad, as an outlaw, as a king, he had given most conspicuous proofs of gallantry. Yet that gallant and courageous heart cries out: “The terrors of death are fallen upon me; fearfulness and trembling come upon me.”

Such hours come to the businessman when he has grappled with some big concern; to the lawyer on the eve of a very important case; to the mother, brooding in the quiet night on the responsibilities of her home and children; or to the pastor, praying for his flock. Suddenly our courage fails for reasons that are often quite inexplicable. Things are not different, duties are not different, but in a strange and mysterious fashion, we are different. And men who faced the lion and the bear and were quick to answer the challenge of Goliath experience the fearfulness of David. All of us have fainting fits, even the strongest and the bravest; hours when the strong men bow themselves and when the keepers of the house to tremble. David had them in their full intensity, and the good thing is that when they fell on him, he lifted up his heart and cried, “But I will trust in thee.”

The Psalmist Was Imprisoned

Observe next, he was a man imprisoned. “O that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6). Now, this does not mean that he was in a dungeon. It is evident from the psalm that he was not. It means that he was weary of his lot; he was dead-sick of it; he loathed it. The meanness of things to that great heart had grown intolerable. He would have given worlds to fly away, but that was the one thing he could not do. In the providential ordering of heaven, he was bound, as it were, by fetters to his place. And I believe there are few people anywhere, whatever their lot or calling, who have not known the longing to escape. To escape from the bondage of ourselves–what a craving we often feel for that! To get away–just to get right away–from the routine which meets us every morning, how overpowering at times is that desire! It was then that David rose to a better way. The wings of a dove would never give him rest. The thing he needed was to find his rest under the overshadowing wing of God–right there, just where he was, amid the burdens and the cares of kingship, “I will trust in thee.”

The Psalmist Was Deceived

Observe lastly, he was a man deceived. Somebody he trusted had proven false, and it had almost broken David’s heart (Psalm 55:12-14). A man his equal, his guide and his acquaintance to whom he used to turn for loving counsel; a man with whom, on quiet Sabbath mornings, he used to walk into the house of God; a man whose friendship he had never doubted and on whose loyalty he would have staked his life had played the part of Iscariot to the Psalmist. What a devastating revelation! What a tragic and desolating hour! How many people have lost their faith in God when they have lost it in a man or woman? Yet David, amid the ruins of that friendship, deserted by one he clung to as a brother, says, “But I will trust in thee.”