Today I came across words so familiar to my soul they seem to read themselves for me. My mind, knowing full well what is coming, hangs on each triumphant word in celebration. The book is a well worn copy of Streams In The Desert, which belonged to my precious grandmother, Daisy.
When I was in college, Daisy lost a courageous fight with breast cancer. It was a devastating loss for me. She was not only my grandmother, but a spiritual mentor and dear friend. As her belongings were distributed among her four children, I somehow managed to get her copy of Streams In The Desert. I have grown to love this book, old English and all.
Many of the devotions inside speak to me, but none so much as July 26th. It is written by George Matheson, a Scottish theologian and preacher who died in 1906. For years, I had a copy of this page hanging on a bulletin board where I could refer to it frequently. Since then, I have thumbed through the book many times in search of this devotional and the encouragement therein. Because I could never summarize Matheson’s big idea and maintain integrity to the power of his words, I give the devotion to you in full form below.
“For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.” (Gal. 5:5, R.V.)
“There are times when things look very dark to me – so dark that I have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence – that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane.
There is no patience so hard as that which endures, ‘as seeing him who is invisible’; it is the waiting for hope.
Thou has made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father’s will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.
Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night and say, ‘To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still.’ I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope.” – George Matheson