There are lone hearth-fires today, so many! And those who sit beside them, with the empty chair, cannot restrain the tears that will come.
Yes, here’s the Bible close by. But there’s a heavy mood on that affects one’s eyes so. One sits alone so much.
There is some One unseen, just here, within reach. But somehow we don’t realize His presence; it does not seem real.
If we would quietly put a foot on the next step up, and then rise up to that foot, we can recognize His presence: it is real.
Realizing is blessed, but. . . rare. It belongs to the mood; to the feelings. It is dependent on weather conditions and bodily conditions.
The rain, the heavy fog outside, the poor sleep, the twinging pain, the letters in the last post. . . these make one’s mood so much; they go so far in controlling the feelings; they seem to blur out the realizing.
But there’s something a little higher up than realizing. It is yet more blessed. It is independent of these outer conditions, whether of climate, or post, or market, or tenement of clay.
It is a something that abides. It abides regardless of these things of such great influence. Then the fire always burns cheerily and warmly, regardless of wind or fog or Chimney conditions.
It is this: recognizing that Presence, unseen, so wondrous and quieting, so soothing and calming and warming. This it is that clears your eyes and brains, and warms your heart, and steadies your feet, and loosens out the song.
Recognize His presence . . . the Master’s own. He is here, close by; His presence is real. Recognizing will help realizing, too, but it never depends on it.
This is up on the higher level, the simple child-faith level that takes the Master at His word, and sings because of what He says.
This simple homely talk is written after almost a year of this world-nightmare of war, in the midst of the terrible intensifying of horrors that the past weeks have brought.
It is written with letters near by from dear friends who sit in the dark shadows. The mood of the war is everywhere, an ever - changing, but never - easing mood. One simply cannot escape it.
But one’s hand can still hold hard to His hand amidst the swirl and suction of the rising waters. And He keeps your feet steady. That’s everything.
Yet the war but intensifies the sorrow for loved ones gone, intensifies it tremendously, overwhelmingly . . . yet only intensifies it. For that sorrow knows neither calendar nor map. It was here, everywhere, before the war began.
It will remain long after the prayed-for peace has been at last securely signed and sealed. Everywhere and always, pain of spirit eats in, hearts break, bonds snap, loneliness wraps in its clinging folds.
And so is the comfort always here. Always and everywhere the truth remains the same, a bit of rock for the feet, a warm handclasp in the dark of a strange place.
Aye, more, immensely more, the Truth is a Presence, not a thing, a fact, a statement. Some One is present, a personal Saviour, a warm-hearted Friend, an allpowerful Lord.
He is present, and all He is in Himself is always available, everywhere. This is the essence of truth. He ... He . . . is that part of truth which remains unchanged.
And this groundwork of truth, this One, Himself the truth, this ... He .. . clean overweighs all the rest. Love outdoes sin. Gladness has a big margin over sorrow. The morning when it dawns will make the night be clean forgotten.
And this is the joyful truth for weeping hearts everywhere, whatever be the hand that has drawn the tears; by whatever stream it be that your weeping willow is planted.