We were sitting on the patio, talking about current events and how the world is changing around us. And my son said, “I just don’t know how can we bring children into a world like this?” I hadn’t thought of that one, this time around. I suppose we see what is more immediate to our own immediate situation better. But it was a great question. And a question that has probably been asked by conscientious parents since – well, since the beginning of time, really. Hasn’t there always been something? Think about it – right from the very begining. Adam and Eve. Cain and Able. I feel sometimes like DeDe said, in Joe Vs. the Volcano – “It’s always gonna be something with you, isn’t it Joe?” My own thoughts had been different than my son’s. I had been thinking about the difficulties of staying on the road; of trying to do the good we know we should do, especially when we feel alone in our efforts, and like no one else sees or cares. As I went to bed, I put on one of my favorite bed time stories – The Diary of an Old Soul. I love this book so much, but for bedtime purposes, it’s mellow, the thoughts are short and sweet, and there is a pretty good chance something lovely will stay with my heart as I fall asleep. As I drifted away, the entry for June 14 spoke to my heart, and I made a mental note to come back to it in the morning. Here it is now.
“When I am very weary with hard thought,
And yet the question burns and is not quenched,
My heart grows cool when to remembrance wrought
That thou who know’st the light-born answer sought
Know’st too the dark where the doubt lies entrenched—
Know’st with what seemings I am sore perplexed,
And that with thee I wait, nor needs my soul be vexed.”
– George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul
As always, George MacDonald is so good at bringing us back around to see the light, and bringing us back and up into the heavenly vision that we may have wandered away from. I think he said something somewhere about a child bringing puppies up to the Father’s face to be kissed. I always think of that in relation to prayer. Anyway, I feel like that often when reading George; like I have been lifted off of the ground, up into the heavenly air where the Father dwells, and been blessed or kissed with a ray of light, or a touch of inspiration. But back to the point, and to the light bearing notes, I wanted to go over this little stanza, line by line.
Thou who know’st the light-born answer sought.
He knows the answers we seek. And in a sense, to be with him, is to be with the living answer; to know him is to ever be answered. “You are yourself the answer.” (CS Lewis, Till We Have Faces) He is our ever present help in time of need; he will not fail us, nor let us fall. Only we must stay near, and keep hold of his hand, and be ready to mind him and his guiding instructions.
Know’st too the dark where the doubt lies entrenched
Not only is he the source of all the answers, but he also understands the situation we are in. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Know’st with what seemings I am sore perplexed
We know also that he was “A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) So he knows our situation. And we know that he will not allow the burden to be too hard to bear. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) And somehow most importantly – the knowledge that we are not alone.
…With thee I wait, nor needs my soul be vexed.
Little by little the light flushes the darkness out, and the paths are clear, and made straight for my soul once again. The furrows can be relaxed from my brows, and I can breathe in deeply. The key for the children, as always, says George, is found in their Father. He is what our souls need most of all. And if he is here, and we are in him, our souls can be at rest, even though we walk through the darkest night, or right through the valley of death. And our Father is always with us – we have not been turned out to wander in the dark and wilderness alone. But sometimes, even when he is beside us, the answers don’t come right away. Sometimes a person can know the answer fully, in every part of their being, as they say, and yet not be able to communicate it to us. When we honestly don’t know what to do, George says, the thing to do is to wait. With him, and in him, of course. Not to go wandering off, seeking worldly counsel, or trying to figure things out on our own. Sometimes it is hard to simply wait. Very hard; ask me how I know. But so much of my own learning, at least, seems to grow in or around the grounds of patience. And God himself does not seem to be in a hurry most days. Possibly because he knows it takes time for our human hearts to see things, and to learn from them, and grow. Also, we are not just dealing with our own situations, alone. We are a part of God’s greater family, so there are lots of moving parts, each of which has to be individually ready for motion as well. It’s not all about us.
I thought it was interesting to notice that the answer is the same for all of God’s beloved children, no matter what the question, or the situation we each find ourselves in. Whether we are troubled by current events, or personal situations. Whether we are in the early stages of life, thinking about the future and new beginnings or in the later stages, and thinking about patience, endurance, and staying the course. For whatever comes our way, and troubles our heart and soul, the answer is always found in Himself. The answer to every question regarding this life, lies in having a Father. “You are yourself the answer.” When we have a Father, it means that we are safe. It means that someone bigger is watching, someone stronger is helping, and someone wiser can help us make better decisions. And someone ultimately has the power to make everything alright. So that we don’t have to do it alone. We have nothing to fear, and we can be at peace, so long as we are walking with him. We may not have all the answers for everything, but we have The Answer. Which is to say, we have a Father.
“You are yourself the answer… What other answer would suffice?”
CS Lewis, Till We Have Faces
But then, we knew that already, didn’t we – before we forgot? Why is it so hard to remember? Why do each of these “new” situations seem to send us tumbling so easily away from our rock? Our constantly loving, ever true and always loyal Father? The one that we love? How many times will it take before we begin to notice? “Ah – I know this one; I’ve seen this trick before! I see you coming, you little sneaky bugger! You can’t fool me by this new disguise, you dirty wolf in sheep’s clothing!” I guess it shows just how far along I am. 🙂 But no matter. The only question that remains is, when we remember, will we come to the Father? And when he brings us to streams of living waters, will we drink? Will we stay firm and loyal, with our Father, and come back if we find we have strayed? Will we listen to his advice and help, and follow it, and try to do the things he is asking of us? And we need help for that too – don’t we? But not to worry; he has help for that one also. When the going is tough, and we don’t feel like fighting or even walking on, we know the answer: we must simply remain with him. Because he is the answer; and sooner or later we will be told what to do. And if we stay by his side, drinking from his cup, we can be slowly strengthened, and filled with his spirit, until we are able to do the task we have been given. But we don’t always feel like we can be that strong sometimes. No matter. That is the road we have chosen to be on, as disciples; to follow, and to become more like Christ. And we chose it because it was right, didn’t we? So there is no doubt about the road itself, only all of these dark doubts, by which we are sore perplexed as to how to continue on the road. But all of our troubles are to be taken to our Father; the good, and the bad. He loves us, and he knows. And he is with us. And “he will always answer our prayers with help.” (–George MacDonald) We just have to be patient enough to wait, and not run away because the answer did not come when we wanted it, or in the packaging we expected. We are so flighty – or is it just me?
– Father of our hearts, we thank you for being our Father; that is, our everything. Let us trust you, and be your children. Help us on our journey today, with whatever challenges face each of us. You know every individual heart, and each of our personal situations. You see the whole situation more clearly than we can; both the things that bother and hinder us, and the answers we need to solve the riddles, as well as the strength that we need to follow through with the answers once we receive them. We come to you now for help; give us the strength to stay with you, and to follow you. Help us to find our nourishment in your Words and your Spirit, so that our soul and spirit can be strengthened, so we won’t be intimidated by the waves, or frightened away by the changing seas. Breathe your spirit and your life into us, so that we may feel courageous and strong, and feel up to the tasks you have for us. The road may be long, and dark, but you walk beside us. We can never be lost, so long as we are with You. You are our Help, within and without, and you will get us through. Thank you for walking with us, and never letting go of our hand! We love you so much! ❤️
When the little animals in the forest are so shy and run away so quickly, is it just because they are afraid? Perhaps with some it is that they are only young, and not grown up yet. But they’ll get there, won’t they, Bear? We’ll all grow up some day, won’t we?🐾
Just a little flower, turning her face to find the sun. I don’t always feel his rays on me, but when I do, the warmth and the feeling is simply wonderful, and I never want to be in the shadows again. Isn’t he lovely?