This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
" evertheless, afterward." — Hebeews 12 :11. SOMETIMES when you have been reading an exciting work of fiction, and the strain has become too intense, you have turned to the last chapter, and read that, and that has calmed you. This is what I want you to do on this Saturday evening in reference to your life. I want you to think for a little w^hile of the last chapter — God's " afterward." If you will open your Bible to the passage from which this text is taken, and read from the sixth verse through the thirteenth, it will help you to grasp the thread of your life's story. And yet, we need to remember that we never can know its full plot and meaning until w^e shall have read the whole through to the very end. Often we grow impatient, like impulsive children, who cannot wait for the climax, and we cr}^, " Let Him make speed and hasten His work that Ave may see it." But the Lord will not be hurried. It is His purpose, as a rule, to unfold His plans grad35
36 SATURDAY IGHT SERMO S. ually, that thus we may be taught patience ; sometimes " through tribulation." However, as in our text, He occasionally gives us brief glimpses, sufficient to assure us that all is mov-
iug towards a happy end ; that every life, like some master picture, is hand-painted. It is not the work of any great soulless machine, however much it may sometimes seem to be. God's " afterward " ; it throw^s light upon your life, its mystery, and its history. Suppose the story of the Canaanitish woman had been cut in two. Suppose it had closed at the point where Jesus replied to her cry for help, " It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." How it would have puzzled us that an infinitely good Being could have answered her like that. And the reason it does not puzzle us now is, because we are able to read through to the end of her stor}^ and understand it in the light of its closing miracle of help. But in the plot of His dealings with you, you are only half-way through the volume. " Ye fearful souls, fresh courage take ; The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy and shall l)reak lu blessings on your head."
37 Wait for God's " afterward." It is so difficult for us to realize that " all things " are working together for good. We are not willing that they should '* work together " ; we expect them to work in only one way, and that our way. Thus, even our seeming failures He can use to our development. Botanists tell us that the fruits on the tree are simply arrested growths. If their progress had not become in some way stunted, they would have grown
into new twigs and branches, and then the tree itself would have been fruitless. There is not one of us who has been seeking through past years to live a Christian life who cannot remember instances in our own experience where " all things " were working together in this way for our good. We did not believe it at the time, but it will help us now to look back ; for to-day itself is one of God's " afterwards." Sometimes the great " afterward " does not dawn until the new Avorld opens beyond the clouds, but it will surely dawn then. There never is a cloud so black but it carries with it somewhere a hidden brightness ; hidden only because we are not yet on the other side. Be
38 SATURDAY IGHT SERMO S. not afraid. He is guiding you, though you cannot yet comprehend how nor where. They are grand words which Browning puts into the mouth of Paracelsus :
" I go to prove my soul. I see my way, as hirds their trackless way. I shall arrive. What time, what circuit first, I ask not. But unless God shall send His hail or blustering fire-balls, sleet or stifling snow, In some time — His good time — I shall arrive. He guides me and the bird in His good time."
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