In The Hour of Peril


"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.'* And he also pities his children who in an hour of peril are overwhelmed with fear of another sort. It is a truth which we cannot learn too well, for there is perhaps no other teaching which we are so often tempted to doubt. We do not doubt it when the sun shines. We are ready to believe anything that is told us of God's care for the sparrows so long as we do not feel that we are as helpless as sparrows. But let the (jlouds come

166 The Life Worth While about our own door and shut out the sunlight from our own windows, and what a host of doubts will gather! "If God really cares for me why does he not come to my help?" — we say in our hearts. And then we begin to wonder if it is not all a mistake. How do I know that he feels toward me as a father ? Why does he not show his sympathy for me now that I am so much in need of sympathy? Why should he be so indifferent to my distress? And so on and so on. It is so easy — so very easy to feel when we can no longer help ourselves, that God is not going to help us.

I wonder if the beautiful picture of Christ stilling the tempest was not given us for just such a moment. Certainly, if it does not answer all our questions it at any rate puts an end to them, for one cannot look upon it long without placing his hand upon his mouth. These storm-tossed disciples were asking, in their hearts, at least, the

In The Hour of PerO 167 same sort of questions. "Why does he lie there sleeping while we are in peril of our lives?" "Does he really know we are in peril ?" "Does he really care if we perish ?" *'Could he help us if he were awake?" But presently common sense asserted itself and they went to him. That is the only way to settle a question about Christ; we must go to him. Their faith was weak, but they went ; it was the only sensible thing to do. And when they went they found that all the trouble was in their own hearts and not with him at all. He was the same Helper that he had been yesterday and the day before. His heart had not changed. His arm had not grown weak. He was still able and willing to help — willing in spite of the smallness of their faith. And he did help. In his power the storm was nothing more than a little dog frisking at his master's feet. He had only to speak and the wind went down.

168 The Life Worth While

Let us lay this story by the side of our own experience. You and I have had our hours of peril when we thought that God was far away, or as one asleep, and we were tempted to complain of his seeming indifference. And yet all the while he had the sea, and the storm, and our poor selves in the hollow of his hand. We are ashamed now that we ever doubted. But the hour of peril will come again: what are we going to do ? What will help us to trust him when we can no longer see him?



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