THE FATHER’S HOUSEKEEPER
I know one of God’s children who has been shut in for ten long years or more, and in these years has learned such lessons of perfect trust that Heaven is very near all the time. Some time ago she needed a housekeeper, and finding some difficulty in securing one, she appealed to the ministers she knew, to her many friends, and finally, remembering her husband when living had been a Free Mason, she wrote to the lodge, requesting the members to interest themselves in the case of one who needed their help very much. But ministers, friends, and Masons had failed to secure the housekeeper needed.
While lying all alone one evening, the thought came, “Why don’t you ask your Father?” and then she remembered her thoughtlessness in appealing to so many others and forgetting Him who had said, “casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” Lifting her heart to God, while tears of penitence rented upon her cheeks, she prayed, “Father, forgive me for my thoughtlessness, and send me a housekeeper, just such an one as I ought to have; and when she comes, if I don’t think she is just the one I ought to have, make me take her, Father, for I want your housekeeper.” And then she rested, leaving it all with the Father.
As the angel was commanded to “fly swiftly” and answer Daniel’s prayer, so I think the Father at once began to answer.
The next morning a little boy, son of the woman who did the washing for our sister, brought home the clothes, and this “shut-in” said to him, “Tell your mamma I want to see her.” In a few hours she made her appearance, anxious to know why she had been sent for. Upon being informed it was to receive some clothing, etc., which our sister, being an almoner of mercy, had received for distribution, she replied, “Oh, I don’t need them, thank you. We get along nicely, my boy and I. Just as much obliged, but there are others who are needy; let them have them.”
Conversation on various subjects then began, and finally drifted to “housekeepers,” and our sister told of her dilemma, when the good woman said, “Why can’t I keep house for you?”
You see the Father was all ready with a housekeeper, and had sent her one, but she didn’t see just then that this was the Father’s answer, and she said, “But you have a boy.”
And then, what was worse for an invalid who needed and must have perfect quiet, she found upon inquiry, “the boy had a dog,” and she didn’t want a dog.
But she had prayed, “Father, send me a housekeeper,” and, “If I think she is not the right one when she comes, Father, make me take her.” Remembering this, she did not dare to interfere with the Father’s answer, but finally said, “Leave it for this evening and come round in the morning.”
Then saying to herself, “If this is the Father’s answer, it must be all right,” she went to sleep.
Bright and early the next morning the washerwoman made her appearance and said, “I can come, and at once.” And she moved in, and the boy moved in, and the dog moved in, and that woman has proved every day since that she is the “Father’s housekeeper.” She prepares the daintiest dishes and her attentions are proffered in the most delicate manner to our invalid, who regards her as sent in answer to prayer, and selected by the Father Himself. Moreover, “that boy” is a perfect little gentleman. He treads so noiselessly. He bangs no doors. He whistles in an undertone. And the dog? Well, our invalid wrote a letter to a friend a few weeks ago, and describing her happiness in her surroundings, she said, “Our dog is a treasure.”
The Father heard her prayer indeed, sent the housekeeper she needed, made her take her, as she requested, and then gave double measure of blessing by adding a “boy who is a gentleman,” and a “dog that is a treasure.” Friends, ministers, Masons, all failed her, but the Father who said, “In all things let your requests be made known unto God in supplication and in prayer,” secured a housekeeper just as soon as He was asked for one. The Father knows all our needs, praise His name. He is more willing to give good things to them that ask Him than we are to give to our children.
— Geo. B. Kulp, Battle Creek, Michigan, March 15, 1893
HOW TO LOOK AT THINGS
I once went to see a lady who was in deep trouble and darkness on account of the great afflictions of the Lord. When I went in she was working on a bit of embroidery, and as I talked with her she dropped the wrong side of it, and there it lay, a mass of crude work, tangled, everything seemed to be out of order.
“Well,” said I “what is this you are engaged at?”
“O,” she replied, “it is a pillow for a lounge. I’m making it for a Christmas gift.”
“I should not think you would waste your time on that,” I said. “It looks tangled, without design and meaning;” and I went on abusing the whole bit of handiwork, and belittling the combination of colors, and so on.
“Why, Mr. Pentecost,” she said, surprised at the sudden and abrupt change of the subject on which we had before been talking, and at the persistency with which I opposed her work. “Why, Mr. Pentecost, you are looking at the wrong side. Turn it over.”
Then I said: “That’s just what you are doing; you are looking at the wrong side of God’s workings with you. Down here we are looking at the tangled side of God’s providence; but He has a plan — here a stitch, there a movement of the shuttle; and in the end a beautiful work. Be not afraid; only be believing. Believe Him in the darkness, believe Him in the mysteries. Let him that walketh in the darkness and seeth not the light, yet trust in the Lord God.”
— Dr. Pentecost
GOD KNOWS ME, ANYHOW
Frank had beautiful, long hair, hanging over his shoulders and his parents were very fond of his appearance. One day he got his mother’s scissors, went to a looking-glass, and cut off all his fair locks. His father and mother were much displeased with him for so doing, and resolved to punish him in this way: When they were seated at the dinner table his father, pointing to him, said to his mother: “What little boy is that?” “I’m your little Franky, papa,” he at once said, not giving his mother time to reply. “Nonsense,” was the father’s answer, “my little Franky has beautiful, long hair; I would not give my Franky for a dozen boys such as you.” Franky now turned to his mother, and said: “Ain’t I your little Franky?” But mamma only shook her head. Matters were now looking serious, and Franky, becoming alarmed, could not make any progress with his dinner. He now appealed to his brother, and asked if he was not little Franky; but his brother only shook his head. He was becoming very unhappy at the thought that father, mother and brother no longer recognized him, and at last he burst into tears, saying as he did so: “Well, it don’t matter much, for God knows me, anyhow.” Tears were now in other eyes as well as Franky’s.
THE MUSIC OF THE SOUL
[Report of John B. Gough’s Lecture]Mr. Clough then passed to another form of blunder.
He was once in a church in a strange city, and the sexton showed into the same pew another person, whose looks impressed Mr. Gough unfavorably. The stranger had a face like mottled soap, which twitched as if a sheet of lightning had run over it, and ever now and then his lips would twist and give utterance to a strange, spasmodic sound. “I got as far away from him as I could. Presently the hymn was given out, and the congregation rose to sing ‘Just as I am, without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me.’
I saw that the man knew the hymn, and said to myself, “He can’t be so disagreeable after all.” I got nearer. He would sing. It was awful, positively awful. I never heard anything like it, and occasionally he would make that strange noise with his lips. Then he’d commence again, and sing faster to catch up with the other singers, and perhaps he’d run ahead. They came to the next verse. He’d forgotten the first line, and while the organist was performing the interlude he leaned toward me and whispered, “Would you be kind enough to give me the first line of the next verse?” I did so: “Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind.”
“That’s me,” said he; “I am blind — God help me” — and the tears came running down his face, and the eyelids quivered, “and I am wretched — and I am paralytic.” And then he tried to sing, “Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind.”
At that moment it seemed to me that I never heard a Beethoven symphony in my life with as much music in it as in that hymn, sung by that poor man, whom Christianity had made happy in his lot.
Through all my little daily cares there is
One thought that comfort brings whene’er it comes.
Tis this: ‘God’ knows.’ He knows indeed full well
Each struggle that my hard heart makes to bring
My will to His. Often, when night-time comes,
My heart is full of tears, because the good
That seems at morn so easy to be done
Has proved so hard; but, then, remembering
That a kind Father is my Judge, I say,
‘He knows,’ and so I lay me down, with trust
That His good hand will give me needed strength
To better do His work in coming days.
ONLY ONE DAY AT A TIMEA certain lady had met with a serious accident, which necessitated a very painful surgical operation, and many months confinement to her bed. When the physician had finished his work and was about taking leave, the patient asked, “Doctor, how long shall I have to lie here helpless?”
“Oh, only one day at a time,” was the cheery answer, and the poor sufferer was not only comforted for the moment, but many times during the succeeding weary weeks did the thought, “Only one day at a time,” come back with its quiet influence. I think it was Sidney Smith who recommended taking “short views” as a good safeguard against needless worry, and One, far wiser than he, said, “Take, therefore, no thought for the morrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
The following beautiful poem, part of which appeared in the Christian Advocate of June 9th, has been widely published and erroneously credited. The Rev. John Parker, of the New York East Conference, wrote it several years ago to comfort a friend in trouble:
God holds the key of the unknown,
And I am glad;
If other hands should hold the key,
Or if He trusted it to me,
I might be sad.
What if tomorrow’s cares were here
Without it’s rest?
I had rather He unlock the day,
And as the hours swing open say,
“My will is best”
The very dimness of my sight
Makes me secure,
For groping in my misty way,
I feel His hand — I hear Him say,
“My help is sure.”
I cannot read His future plan,
But this I know:
I have the smiling of His face,
And all the refuge of His grace,
While here below.
Enough; this covers all my want,
And so I rest;
For what I cannot He can see,
And in His care I sure shall be
GOD WILL KNOW YOU
One evening last Christmas time, a gentleman was strolling along a street in Toronto, with apparently no object in view but to pass the time. His attention was attracted by the remark of a little girl to a companion in front of a fruit stand: “I wish I had an orange for ma.” The gentleman saw that the children, though poorly dressed, were clean and neat, and calling them into the store he loaded them with fruit and candies. “What’s your name?” asked one of the girls. “Why do you want to know?” queried the gentleman. “I want to pray for you,” was the reply. The gentleman turned to leave, scarcely daring to speak, when the little one added, “Well, it don’t matter, I suppose God will know you, anyhow.”
Insects inhabiting islands have either very short wings of very little use in flying, or no wings at all.