CHRIST’S SYMPATHY TO WEARY PILGRIMS
by Octavius Winslow (1808 – 1878) “The Pilgrim’s Companion”
Octavius Winslow/ Wikipedia
“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain you.” Psalm 55:22
It is by an act of simple, prayerful faith we transfer our cares and anxieties, our sorrows and needs, to the Lord. Jesus invites you come and lean upon Him, and to lean with all your might upon that arm that balances the universe, and upon that bosom that bled for you upon the soldier’s spear!
But you doubtingly ask, “Is the Lord able to do this thing for me ?” And thus, while you are debating a matter about which there is not the shadow of a shade of doubt, the burden is crushing your gentle spirit to the dust.
And all the while Jesus stands at your side and lovingly says, “Cast your burden upon Me and I will sustain you. I am God Almighty. I bore the load of your sin and condemnation up the steep of Calvary, and the same power of omnipotence, and the same strength of love that bore it all for you then, is prepared to bear your need and sorrow now. Roll it all upon Me! Child of My love!
Lean hard! Let Me feel the pressure of your care. I know your burden, child! I shaped it—I poised it in My own hand and made no proportion of its weight to your unaided strength. For even as I laid it on, I said I shall be near, and while she leans on Me, this burden shall be Mine, not hers. So shall I keep My child within the encircling arms of My own love. Here lay it down! Do not fear to impose it on a shoulder which upholds the government of worlds! Yet closer come! You are not near enough! I would embrace your burden, so I might feel My child reposing on My breast. You love Me! I know it. Doubt not, then. But, loving me, lean hard!“
IN HIS HAND
“My times are in your hand.” Psalm 31:15
Our times of adversity are also in God’s hand. As every sunbeam that brightens, so every cloud that darkens, comes from God. We are subject to great and sudden reverses in our earthly condition. Joy is often succeeded by grief, prosperity by adversity. We are on the pinnacle today, tomorrow at its bottom. Oh! What a change may one event and one moment create! But, beloved, ALL is from the Lord.
Afflictions do not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Sorrow cannot come until God bids it. Until God in His sovereignty permits—health cannot fade, wealth cannot vanish, comfort cannot decay, friendship cannot chill, and loved ones cannot die.
Your time of sorrow is His appointment. The bitter cup which it may please the Lord that you shall drink this year will not be mixed by human hands. In the hand of the Lord is that cup! Some treasure you are now pressing to your heart, He may ask you to resign. Some blessing you now possess, He may bid you to relinquish. Some fond expectation you now cherish, He may will that you should forego. Some lonely path, He may design that you should tread.
Yes, He may even bereave you of all, and yet all, ALL is in His hand! His hand! A Father’s Hand is shaping every detail in your life, is moving in thick darkness, is shaping every event, and arranging every detail in your life!
Yes, that hand of changeless love blends a sweet with every bitter—pencils a bright rainbow in each dark cloud—upholds each faltering step—shelters within its hollow—and guides with unerring skill, His chosen people safe to eternal glory!
Dear child of God, your afflictions, your trials, your crosses, your losses, your sorrows, all, ALL are in your heavenly Father’s hand, and they cannot come until sent by Him!
Bow that stricken heart—yield that tempest-tossed soul to His sovereign disposal, to His calm, righteous sway, in the submissive spirit and language of your suffering Savior,
“May Your will, O my Father! not mine, be done. My times of sadness and of grief are in Your hand.” Beloved, all is in your Father’s hand! Be those times what they may—times of trial, times of temptation, times of suffering, times of peril, times of sunshine or of gloom, or times of life or death, they are in your Father’s hand!
Has the Lord seen fit to recall some fond blessing, to deny some earnest request, or painfully to discipline your heart? All this springs from a Father’s love as fully as though He had unlocked His treasury and poured its costliest gifts at your feet! All of our times are in our Redeemer’s hands!
for LIFE IS LIKE A PAINTED DREAM
“For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” Psalm 48:14
The world passes away. Everything here in this present world is changing.
“Life is like a painted dream;
Like the rapid summer stream;
Like the fleeting meteor’s ray;
Like the shortest winter’s day;
Like the fitful breeze that sighs;
Like the waning flame that dies;
Darting, dazzling on the eye;
Fading in eternity.”
A rope of sand, a spider’s web, a silken thread, a passing shadow, an ebbing wave, are the most fitting and expressive emblems of all things belonging to this present earthly state. The homes that sheltered us in childhood we leave. The land which gave us birth we leave. The loved ones who encircled our hearths pass away. The friends of early years depart. And the world that was so sunny, and life that was so sweet, is all beclouded and embittered—the whole scenery of existence changed into wintry gloom. Such are the saddening, depressing effects of life’s vicissitudes.
But in the midst of all, “this God is our God forever and ever!” All beings change but God. All things change but heaven. The evolutions of time revolve, the events of earth go onward, but He upon whom all things hang, and by whom all events are shaped and controlled, moves not. “For I am the Lord, I change not.” Our affairs may alter. Our circumstances may change. Our relations and friends may depart one by one. Our souls in a single day pass through many fluctuations of spiritual feeling. But He who chose us to be His own, and who has kept us to the present moment, is our covenant God and Father forever and ever, and will never throw us off and cast us away. “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.”
“I the Lord search the heart.” Jeremiah 17:10
Solemn as is this view of the Divine character, the believing mind finds in it sweet and hallowed repose. What more consolatory truth in some of the most trying positions of a child of God than this—the Lord knows the heart! The world condemns us, and the saints may wrongly judge us—but God knows the heart! And to those who have been led into deep discoveries of their heart’s hidden evil, to whom have been made startling and distressing unveilings, how precious is this character of God, “I the Lord search the heart.”
Is there a single recess of our hearts we would veil from His penetrating glance? Is there a corruption we would hide from His view? Is there an evil of which we would have Him ignorant? Oh no! Mournful and humiliating as is the spectacle, we would throw open every door, and uplift every window, and invite and urge His scrutiny and inspection, making no concealments, and indulging in no reserves, and framing no excuses when dealing with the great Searcher of hearts, exclaiming, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
And while the Lord is thus acquainted with the evil of our hearts, He most graciously conceals that evil from the eyes of others. He seems to say, by His benevolent conduct, “I see my child’s infirmity.” Then, covering it with His hand, exclaims, “but no other eye shall see it, but my own!” Oh, the touching tenderness, the loving kindness of our God! Knowing, as He does, all the evil of our nature, He yet veils that evil from human eye—that others may not despise us as we often despise ourselves. Who but God could know it? Who but God would conceal it?
And how blessed, too, to remember that while God knows all the evil, He is as intimately acquainted with all the good that is in the hearts of His people! He knows all that His Spirit has implanted—all that His grace has wrought. Oh encouraging truth!
That spark of love, faint and flickering—that pulsation of life, low and tremulous—that touch of faith, feeble and hesitating—that groan, that sigh—that low thought of self that leads a man to seek the shade—that self-abasement that places his mouth in the dust—oh, not one of these sacred emotions is unseen, unnoticed by God!
His eye ever rests with infinite compassion and delight on His own image in the renewed soul.
from “Christ’s Sympathy to Weary Pilgrims” by Octavius Winslow