THE supreme thing in life. How shall we define it? Is it not an abiding
heart experience of conscious peace and deep content? But not as of natural temperament
merely, but as above nature, in its steady flow in God.
Few appear to attain such blessedness, and
yet, since Enoch walked with God it has been possible. And how great the privilege! To be
so wakened in heart, mind, and will, and to be so stirred to the depths, as to ever
afterwards live in a real awareness of God.
God has met, and is always
meeting, man. And for us men there has been the great meeting place, that wondrous
bridging of the chasm whereby our sinless, worthy Lord, tasted death for all.
And from my smitten heart with tears,
Two wonders I confess--
The wonder of His glorious love,
And my own worthlessness.
Sin's might and inevitable death was swept
away by the mightier, immortal One. And so, God makes a way, an approach supreme. And
because He has laid help on One Who is mighty, He lays His hand upon us. He brings us to a
glorious place, celestial ground, "in Christ."
He imbues us with spiritual resolve, somewhat
akin to the Psalmist's when he said, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in
righteousness!" How distinguishing an expression. "As for me!" The
speaker is set apart as one of God's nobility. And with a motto of no mean order. One to
live with indeed!
See how Paul expresses it in his wish for
Agrippa. "May I ever wish to God, even briefly and greatly, not only you, but also
all who are hearing me today, to become a kind such as I am also, outside of these
bonds!" (Acts 26:29).
A great wish from a great lone soul. But then,
Paul was living for the supreme thing. It was ever before him, moving him in thought,
word, and deed. And shall we not wish to be the kind he was?
If we, with earnest effort, could succeed
To make our life one long connected prayer,
As lives of some perhaps have been and are,
If, never leaving Thee, we had no need
Our wandering spirits back again to lead
Into Thy presence, but continued there,
Like angels standing on the highest stair
Of the sapphire throne, this were to pray indeed!
But if distractions manifold prevail,
And if in this we must confess we fall:
Grant us to keep at least a prompt desire,
Continual readiness for prayer and praise.
An altar heaped and waiting to take fire
With the least spark, and leap into a blaze.
May such warmth of desire be ours! The heart
in frame for speech or silence, realizing God as the strength of life. The living God, the
present help. For our God is not, as Thomas Carlyle would have us think, "an absentee
God, sitting idle at the outside of His universe and seeing it go." No, no. He is the
caring, working God, ever intent on the issues of His great purpose and grand goal.
He would fain be everything to everyone.
Should He not be everything to us, here and now? The supreme thing is to find Him so, to
wait on Him and to wait for Him in questions great and small.
Dying man needs the living God. Needs Him
daily, needs Him ever. The heart's cry is only satisfied with God. "My heart crieth
out for the living God. My soul thirsteth for Thee!" And God answers the cry. He
assuages the thirst. If need be, He can make us to stand alone, and to walk at liberty.
Thus, with spirit unstifled by slogan and
shibboleth, we are brought into touch with those silent workings of contagion and
inspiration which come from fellowship with kindred minds.
God's choice of us makes us members of an
exalted order. A dignity, not of earth, is ours. The word, therefore, comes to us all:
"Be what you are."
Keeping rank, then, with such an order, we
would think as God thinks. We would make His viewpoint ours. We would reap not only as we
sow, but better still, where God has sown. We would live in, and for, the moment alone,
seeing in them all His great directive care. We would stand still and see. Be still
So living, we shall realize that we are set
for ideal things. Things true, dignified, just and pure. And not only shall we think upon
them, but be putting them into practice. For God is in them all. And His love, His will,
His Word, His spirit will be in continuous process for us.
"Become, then, imitators of God, as
beloved children, and be walking in love, according as Christ also loves you, and gives
Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a fragrant odor"
A fragrant odor. The incense of a life of
grace and truth. For God had given Him the tongue of the learned, that He should know how
to speak a word in season to the weary. Morning by morning He wakened His ear to hear as
He could therefore say, "According as My
Father teaches Me, thus I am speaking." And His words were spirit and life. Even as
ointment poured forth. And in the touch of His hand and the look of His eye there lay a
compassionate grace, a noble dignity.
May the character of such a life be a constant
urge. It is the divine expression of the supreme thing. And He lives to inspire and
empower. So will there rest in our hearts, as on our lips, the words of that set desire:
"As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I
awake, with Thy likeness."
When I awake. Morning by morning. For
as sleep is an image of death, awaking is an image of resurrection. There is another day
to behold His face. Another day to be satisfied with His likeness.
"In the morning, O Lord, will I direct my
prayer unto Thee and look up!"
Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When wake the birds, and all the shadows flee.
Fairer than morning, lovelier than the daylight,
Dawns the great consciousness, I am with Thee!