You and I have to remind ourselves constantly that our chief dependence is not upon organization, nor method, nor personal talent, nor personal training, but upon the Holy Spirit working through these. The better organized the human machinery, the better the methods used, the more there is of personal gift, and the more thoroughly one's powers have been drilled, the more there is at the Spirit's disposal for Him to use. The practical bother is to remember this; to get it rubbed in until it is like an instinct in us, that the power is all from Him, through us. Not without Him, and not without us; the two together; but always His the far greater part—indeed, the real part.
The Holy Spirit has a double work to do: with us who go; and upon those to whom we go. Within us He has to work out the character of Jesus. He opens the Word, making its meaning stand clearly out. He wakens the mind up to do its best work. He guides in our decisions, suggesting and directing and controlling our thoughts, and in our actions, in our dealings with men. In things that are little in themselves, but on which so much hinges, He guides.
It constantly occurs that we are not at all conscious of His control at the time. But afterward we can see how He has been deftly, softly guiding, with His rare light touch upon us. When, in the thick of work, we may be pressed hard, and a bit wearied, and in doubt, He sends the quiet, quick suggestion into our thoughts that leads out of the tight corner and into the achievement of the thing desired. He works through us, and through what we do, giving power that otherwise would not be there. While you are talking in conversation or in public address, He is working through what you are saying.
And He works upon those to whom we go. He opens doors; the doors of circumstances that we find locked and double-padlocked against us. He opens the yet tighter-shut, harder-to-open human doors. He inclines men favorably toward us personally, and to our message. Under His touch the message becomes as a tongue of flame, kindling, disturbing, softening, burning down, and moulding over into new shape the inner man to whom the message comes.
Sometimes quarrymen find a very hard kind of rock in the stone quarries. They pick little grooves for the iron wedges, and then with great sledge-hammers drive these wedges into the hard rock. But sometimes this fails to split the rock. The iron wedges and big sledges have no effect at all on the stubborn stone. Then they go at it in another way. The iron wedges are removed from the narrow grooves. Then little wooden ones, of a very hard fibre are selected. These sharp-edged, well-made wooden wedges are first soaked in water. Then they are put in the grooves tightly while wet, and water is kept in the grooves. The sledges are not used. They would smash the wooden wedges.
The water and wedges are left to do their work. The damp wood swells. The particles must have more room as they swell. The granite heart of rock can't stand against this new pressure. It takes longer than with iron wedges and sledge, but after a while the rock yields and lies split wide-open. The water works on the wood, and that in turn on the stone. The iron wedges sometimes fail, but the wood and water never fail.
It seems to be a part of our make-up to make plans, and to count on the plans. And planning does much. We don't want to plan less, necessarily, but to learn to depend more in our planning on the soft, noiseless, but resistless power of the Holy Spirit.
"The day is long, and the day is hard;
We are tired of the march and of keeping guard;
Tired of the sense of a fight to be won,
Of days to live through, and of work to be done;
Tired of ourselves and of being alone:
Yet all the while, did we only see,
We walk in the Lord's own company.
We fight, but 'tis He who nerves our arm;
He turns the arrows that else might harm,
And out of the storm He brings a calm;
And the work that we count so hard to do,
He makes it easy, for He works, too:
And the days that seem long to live are His—A bit of His bright eternities—and close to our need His helping is." (Susan Coolidge