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HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.” Psalm 77:19

The Providence of Life

The same thing also is true of the gift of life. Life is the one impenetrable secret. We have it and we thank God for it, and yet the wisest does not know what it is. It is not only of the heaven of heavens when looking up we say, “Thy footsteps are not known.” It is not only where the sun is shining and where beyond the sun there are the angels. The deepest mysteries are not in heaven; the deepest mysteries are not in hell. The deepest mysteries are here where we are and know not what we are. Life looks at us in every human glance. Life speaks to us in every human voice. Life meets us riotously in the play of children. Life shines transfigured on the face of saints. And yet what is it, so near and yet so far; so strong and beautiful, and yet so frail; so evident that none can pass it by; so hidden that no human hand can reach it? It baffles science with all its mighty claims. It baffles philosophy with all its pondering. No thought can get at it. Yet it is here where you are sitting and where I am writing. God’s footsteps are in the temple of my heart, and yet His footsteps are not known.

Not with the sound of a bell does God arrive when our feet are at the turning of the ways. Over the silent sea, the boat approaches, but the oars are muffled and we don’t hear it as it comes from the haven of the far away. Decked with the embroidery of common moments, the moments which do not commonly reach us. Wearing the aspect of our usual hours, our great hours of destiny arrive–and life shall never be the same again. We thought it was a common hand that touched us; we know now it was the hand of God. Ah! sirs, life would be easy if providential hours declared themselves; if they met us radiant and with an uplifted look, and cried, “I am one of thy great hours.” But they never meet us in a guise like that–never betray their greatness by their bearing–we hear no sound of the approaching footsteps–thy footsteps are not known.

When Abraham rested by the door at Mamre, he saw three travellers drawing near to the tent. They were but wayfarers, thirsty and dusty, and he had no idea that they were angels. And it is always thus that the angel-hours come, wearing the garments of the undistinguished, treading on the dusty ways of life, worn with the everyday weariness of man. How many noisy hours have passed away, and left no impact upon our life. How many a little hour has been a seed, and it rooted deep and blossomed high as heaven. Yet was it borne upon the wind so noiselessly and fell so lightly that we never noticed it, and its roots are deep today and its topmost branches in the sky.



Author: Godfrey Gregg

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