And so there may be a waiting time. Bodily healing may be needed, desperately needed perhaps. And we may be in real touch of heart with Christ. And we may pray for the healing touch. And yet, it may not come. There may be a waiting time.
If so, it means simply this: we're needing some schooling. There's some plan involved. And the thing is to be good scholars. Cultivate the keen inner ear and the quiet inner spirit, so we can hear the Teacher's voice. For He is speaking. If we are still enough we'll hear.
But no one expects to stay in school all his days. We should look forward to a glad graduation day. We should plan early graduation. Our hands should be stretched out, stretched expectantly out, till they grasp what has been promised.
I can never forget my mother's very brief paraphrase of that long verse in the Third of Malachi (Mal_3:10) The verse begins, you remember, "bring ye the whole tithe in," and it ends up with "I will pour" the blessing out till you'll be embarrassed for space.
My mother's brief paraphrase was this: Give all He asks; take all He promises.
There is always a instinctive hesitancy to speak of one's own personal experiences. They seemed so sacred. The reluctance comes unbidden.
And yet, of course, nothing is so strong and convincing, if rightly understood, as actual personal experience. And one is willing to overcome that natural reluctance if only some one may be helped a bit.
Within recent years I went through a critical illness, happily not very prolonged. There was clearly a purpose in it. That has been made quite clear to my inner spirit.
And that purpose was served. That is clear. And one remarkable thing was the distinct touch on the body all during that illness, and in convalescence, overruling the natural course of things.
I have experienced healing in serious matters through the use of means prayerfully used. Again, quite distinctly, without the use of means, Christ's own healing touch has come when things were serious.
And yet again, I have been quite clear that is has been Christ's own healing touch, in most difficult circumstances, overcoming the means used, that brought the healing and health.
And, I may add, that while I never have enjoyed better health and vigour than at present, and of late, I am being plainly led in my inner spirit to expect a healing touch beyond what has yet been experienced.
I am still in school, God's school. I have gotten through some of the rooms, but not all. My hand is stretched out day and night. And I have the sweet assurance that graduation day is coming very soon now.
I heard a homely story of a New York City newsboy from the slums. He was in a batch of slumboys sent into the country for two weeks by the Fresh Air Fund.
He found himself, at the end of the journey, in a large, comfortable farmhouse. A motherly woman received him cordially. When bedtime came she took him to a bedroom.
And she talked to him, as she turned down the bed covers. This had been her own son's room when he was a boy, she explained. She hoped he would enjoy a good sleep, and be down early in the morning, and so she bade him "good night."
Morning came, and breakfast time, but the boy didn't appear. She called up the stairs but there was no response.
She went up-stairs, found the room door open, and looked in. But there was no boy to be seen. Where was the boy?
Perplexed and wondering, her eye caught sight of a ragged shoe on the floor at the edge of the bed. Stooping down she saw the boy sound asleep on the floor under the bed.
She called to him: "Time to get up, my boy, breakfast ready." He came crawling out, rubbing his eyes, "Yes 'm, yes 'm."
And as she turned to leave she said quietly pointing to the bed, "Why didn't you sleep in the bed?"
The boy turned a surprised look, following the line of her pointing finger, toward the bed. "Bed!" he said simply. "Is that a bed?"
He had never slept in a bed. A door-stoop, a box, a barrel, or the like, had been the only bed the boy had ever known. Ah! yes, there are hundreds of them in the heathen slum fringe of all our great cities.
Are you sleeping under the bed, taking less than Christ has provided?