Worry – A Hindrance to Service
There is nothing commoner than worry. Everybody seems to worry. Men worry. Women worry. It is commonly supposed that women worry more than men. I doubt it. After watching both pretty closely under all sorts of circumstances I doubt it. Yet if it be true that woman does worry the more, I think it is because, being more sensitively organized, she is more keenly alive to the issues involved and to the responsibilities of life. Poor people worry. Those with enough money to be easy worry. And those with the largest wealth seem to worry too. Busy folks worry. And so do the idle. The cultured and scholarly touch elbows with the ignorant here.
Americans are supposed to be specialists in worrying. The name Americanitis has been given to a certain run-down condition of the nerves. Well, we may possibly have set the pace, and may be making new records. But certainly there are plenty of pushing followers. Our Canadian neighbors seem not to be wholly strangers to worry. Nor our British and Dutch forbears. The European continentals, and those of the East nearer and farther off seem to be good or bad at worrying. It is a characteristic of the race everywhere, the difference being merely in the degree. It seems inbred in man.
There are two “don’t-worry” chapters in this old Bible, one in the Old Testament and one in the New. In the Old Testament is the Thirty-seventh Psalm with its oft-repeated “fret not.” The word under that English phrase “fret not” is significant. It is so blunt as to sound almost like a bit of American slang. Literally it means “don’t get hot.” The New Testament has the sixth chapter of Matthew with Jesus’ own words. One should be careful here to note the better reading of the revision. The old version says “take no thought,” and that has been misunderstood by many who have not thought about its meaning. The newer translations are truer to the meaning on Jesus’ lips. Do not take anxious thought, “be not anxious.” But apart from these two chapters there is a phrase running through these pages clear through the whole Book, a phrase shot through, piercing everywhere, even as the glorious sunlight pierces through the thick cloud and fog. I mean the phrase “fear not.” All worry roots down its tenacious tendrils in fear.
A Fence of Trust
It will help to understand just what worry is. It is always an advantage to get an enemy clearly defined and keep it so, so you can hit it harder, and make every blow tell on a vital part of its anatomy.
Worry is not concern, but distress of mind. Some one said to me at the close of a talk on worry, “some folks ought to worry more.” Of course he meant that some people should bear their share of the responsibilities of life, instead of selfishly and lazily shirking them. There is a proper concern about matters for which we are responsible. A man never makes a good speech unless there is a feeling of concern, of apprehension lest there be failure in that for which he is pleading. A strong sensitive spirit feels the responsibility and does the best to meet it. Worry is mental distress. It is sinking under the sense of responsibility. It is yielding to the fear that there may be failure, instead of gripping the lines and whip and determining to ride down the chance of its coming.
Sometimes worry is carrying to-morrow’s load with to-day’s strength; carrying two days in one. It is moving into to-morrow ahead of time. There is just one day in the calendar of action; that’s to-day. Planning should include a wide swing of days; wise planning must. But action belongs to one day only, to-day.
“Build a little fence of trust
Fill the space with living work
And therein stay;
Look not through the sheltering bars
God will help thee bear what comes
Of joy or sorrow.”
“Live for to-day, to-morrow’s sun To-morrow’s cares will bring to light, Go like the infant to thy sleep And heaven thy morn shall bless.”
A Lord of the Harvest
Sometimes worry is carrying a load that one should not carry at all. I think it was Lyman Beecher who said that he got along very comfortably after he gave up running the universe. Some good earnest people are greatly concerned about the way things in the world are going, I’m obliged to confess to some pretty serious blunders there. It seemed to me that there was so much to be done, so many people needing help, so much of wrong and sin to fight that I must be ever pushing and never sleeping. I had to sleep of course; but all my burden, which meant the burden of the world’s need as I saw it, was lugged faithfully to bed every night. There was a lot of pillow-planning. But I found that the wrinkles grew thick, and the physical strength gave out, and yet at the end of vigorous campaigning there seemed about as much left to do as ever.
Then one day my tired eyes lit upon that wondrous phrase, “the lord of the harvest.” It caught fire in my heart at once. “Oh! there is a Lord of the harvest,” I said to myself. I had been forgetting that. He is a Lord, a masterful one. He has the whole campaign mapped out, and each one’s part in helping mapped out too. And I let the responsibility of the campaign lie over where it belonged. When night time came I went to bed to sleep. My pillow was this, “There is a Lord of the harvest.”
My keynote came to be obedience to Him. That meant keen ears to hear, keen judgment to understand, keeping quiet so the sound of His voice would always be distinctly heard. It meant trusting Him when things didn’t seem to go with a swing. It meant sweet sleep at night, and new strength at the day’s beginning. It did not mean any less work. It did seem to mean less friction, less dust. Aye, it meant better work, for there was a swing to it, and a joyous abandon in it, and a rhythm of music with it. And the undercurrent of thought came to be like this: There is a Lord to the harvest. He is taking care of things. My part is full, faithful, intelligent obedience to Him. He is a Master, a masterful One. He is organizing victory. And the fine tingle of victory was ever in the air.
Do Your Best — Leave the Rest
I knew a mother one of whose sons was not a Christian man, and not of good habits. She was a devoted true Christian woman, bearing her part in life’s service with fine faith and a keen sweet spirit. The children were all Christians but this one, her first-born, the beginning of her strength. The thought of him troubled her much. She prayed fervently, and used her best endeavor, and the years grew on without change. And her face showed the burden upon her fine spirit. We would talk together about her son, and pray together, but her brow remained clouded.
Then I marked a change. The lines of tension in her face relaxed. A new quiet light came into her eye. There seemed a gentle intangible, but very sure, peace breathing about her. And I knew there was no change in him. So one day in conversation I ventured to ask about the change. And I shall always remember the gentle voice and the quiet strength with which she said, “I have given him over to my Father. And I know He will not fail me. I am still praying, of course, as ever, and I am trusting for him.” She had been carrying a load that she should not have been carrying. And now while the mother-heart was still concerned as much as ever, the sense of assured victory brought the change in her spirit.
Sometimes worry is fretting over past mistakes; it is chafing about what we do not understand, or about plans of ours that have failed. A good deal of worry comes from pride and over-sensitiveness. The roots here, it will be noticed, of all alike are down in our own failures, our own selves. And there would be cause for more worry if we had only ourselves. But we have a Father.
A very great deal of worry is wholly due to physical causes. Overworked nerves always see things distorted. Huge phantom shapes loom up before us. Overwork always makes a sensitive spirit worry, and worry usually makes us overwork until we drop from exhaustion. When the cause is here, there are some simple human helps. Some—a good bit—of God’s fresh air will work wonders. Even good people seem unchangeably opposed to God’s air, and insist on breathing old, worn-out, used-up second-hand air. God would be greatly glorified if housekeepers and church sextons were given a practical course in the use of fresh air, God’s air. With that should be simple food, and simple dress, and abundant sleep, and simple standards of life.
Worry is utterly useless. It never serves a good purpose. It brings no good results. “Which of you can by being anxious add a single span to the measure of his life?” Jesus asks in that sixth of Matthew. But much more can be said. It brings bad results. The revision brings out the clear, simple meaning of the Thirty-seventh Psalm, eighth verse. The old version seems a bit puzzling, “Fret not thyself in anywise to do evil.” The revision reads, “Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil doing.” The results of worrying are always bad. The judgment is impaired. One cannot think so clearly nor see so clearly. The temper is ruffled. The door is quickly opened to worse things.
It is sinful to worry. For the Master repeatedly commands us, “Be not anxious.” It helps to get a habit labeled correctly. Here to tack on “sinful” in block letters, black ink, white paper, so as to get greatest contrast is a decided help. And worrying is a reproach upon Jesus. Let the Gentiles, the outsiders, the people who have not taken Jesus into their lives, let them worry if they will. But we must not. For we have Jesus. Let these who leave Him out grow crow-toes, and deeply-bitten wrinkles, and turkey-foot markings. Without Him how can they help themselves? But we folk who have Jesus should have smoothly rounded faces, the lines all filled up and ironed out. It reproaches Jesus before folks for us to be as they are in this regard.
Out of the midst of a great pressure of work, with a body tired out, Dr. Charles F. Deems, the busy pastor of The Church of The Strangers in New York City, wrote these lines years ago:
“The world is wide,
In time and tide,
And God is quick;
Then do not hurry.
“That man is blest,
Who does his best,
And leaves the rest;
Then do not worry.”
A man should do his best. There should be no shirking. Yet I need hardly say that here, because shirking people, lazy people do not worry. They haven’t enough snap about them to worry. But it steadies one to put the thing just as Dr. Deems put it. “Do your best, and, then leave all the rest to God.” And when sleep time comes, sleep.
Anxious for Nothing
Likely as not some one will say, “We knew all that before. But how are we going to quit worrying? That’s what we need to be told.” Well, I can tell you. Sometimes a man speaks cautiously, but here one can speak with great positiveness. There are three simple rules how not to worry. They are infallible. I heard of a society whose purpose it was to cure worry. There were thirty-seven rules, I think. It would worry some of us a good bit to memorize any such length of instruction as that. The remedy seems to be on a high shelf. And in standing up on a chair and reaching there is some danger that the chair may tip over and the last state not be an improvement on the first.
But here are three very simple rules, easy to follow, and they will never fail. They are not my rules, that is, not of my making, or I might not be speaking so positively. They are given by the blessed Holy Spirit, through our dear old friend Paul. In Philippians, chapter four, verses six and seven, are the words that contain the rules: “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
The first rule is this, anxious for nothing. In other words, don’t worry. Deliberately refuse to think about annoying things. Set yourself against being disturbed by disturbing things. Say to yourself, it is useless, it has bad results, it is sinful, it is reproaching my Master, I won’t. That is the first simple rule.
Thankful for Anything
The second helps to carry out the first. It is this, thankful for anything. Thanksgiving and praise are always associated with singing. When you feel the worry mood creeping on—it is a mood that attacks you—when it comes sing something, especially something with Jesus’ name in it. These temptations to worry are from the Evil One. He can come in only through an open door. Remember that. Yet the open doors seem plenty. Even when we trustingly and resolutely keep every door of evil shut the circle in which we move will open doors upon us. Singing something with Jesus’ name in it sends him or any of his brood off quickly. They hate that Name of their Conqueror. They get away from the sound of it as fast as they can.
A friend was calling upon another and began pouring out a stream of personal woes. This had gone wrong, and this, and this other would go wrong. Everything was wrong. And her friend, who knew her quite well, had her get a pencil and paper and asked her if possibly there was one thing for which she could be thankful. Reluctantly from her lips came the mention of some particular thing for which she felt indeed grateful. Then a second was gradually recalled, and then more. And as the train of thought grew on her she suddenly asked, “Why was I so despondent when I came in? Everything seems so changed.”
It’s a fine thing to go about one’s work singing some hymn with praise in it, and with Jesus’ name in it. And if singing may not always be allowable under all circumstances, you can hum a tune. And that brings up to the memory the words connected with it. I know of a woman who was much given to worrying. She made it a rule to sing the long-meter doxology whenever things seemed not right. Ofttimes she could hardly get her lips shaped up to begin the first words. But she would persist. And by the time the fourth line came it was ringing out and her atmosphere had changed without and within.
This was David’s rule. He said: “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” He is not speaking of the time when he was acknowledged king over both Judah and all Israel, when the fortress of Jerusalem was his own capital. No, he is talking of the earlier days of his pilgrimage. When he was being hunted over the Judean fastnesses by King Saul. When with his band of faithful men he was ever fleeing for his life. He slept in caves and dens or out in the open, and always with one eye open. There he used to sing God’s praises. A messenger would come breathlessly in some morning with the news that Saul was just over yonder ravine with a thousand men. And as David planned what best to do, and arranged his men, he would be singing.
Maybe he would sing that Twenty-third Psalm:
“For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.”
Or, maybe sometimes,
“To Thee I lift my soul;
O Lord, I trust in Thee:
My God, let me not be ashamed
Nor foes triumph o’er me.”
Or, likely, he often sang:
“The Lord’s my light and saving health;
Who shall make me dismayed?
My life’s strength is the Lord; of whom
Then shall I be afraid?”
Or if perhaps Ezra wrote this psalm it takes one back to his weary, dangerous journey over from Babylon to Jerusalem and the very difficult work he was undertaking in Jerusalem in reorganizing the life of the people again. He used to sing on the way, and through all his difficulties.
It is a great rule.
“When the day is gloomy
Sing some happy song;
Meet the world’s repining
With a courage strong.”
Some one asked me if whistling would do. She was a busy housewife and said that was her rule. I have gone to singing myself. But maybe whistling is just as good. I’m inclined to favor giving it a place within the range of this rule.
There’s a bit of deep, simple philosophy here. Music is divine. There is no music in the headquarters of the enemy. He has used it a great deal on the earth. That’s a bit of his cunning. But he always has to steal it from God’s sphere, and work it over to suit his own crafty purposes. Music, singing, is an open doorway for the Spirit of God to come in, and come in anew and move freely. Its sweet harmonies found their birth in the presence of God where sweetest harmonies reign. Lovers of music should be lovers of God, for He is the one great Master-musician.
When Elisha was asked to prophesy victory for Israel over the enemy at one time, he refused. He was not in harmony with this king nor his associates. His spirit refused to respond to their request. But at their urgent request he yielded, and called for a musician. And as the strains of music fell upon his ear and entered into his spirit he felt the divine presence and influence anew. We should use the musician more in our days of battle. And God has wonderfully provided every one of us with a music-box of sweet melodies. If we would only open the lid, and let frequent use wear off the rust, and sing His praise more. In music God speaks to us anew with great power. This is the second rule, thankful for anything.
Prayerful about Everything
The third rule helps to make both first and second effective. These three are closely interwoven. They always work together. Each suggests the other two. They are an interwoven trinity. The third is this, prayerful about everything. There are some unusually fine bits from the old Book to help here. Referring to the discipline which God’s love makes Him use, David says: “For His anger is but for a moment: His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may come in to lodge at even, but joy cometh in the morning.” There may be weeping. There shall be joy. Weeping won’t stay long.
There’s a morning coming, always a morning coming, with the sunshine and the chorus of the birds. Love’s discipling touch that seems at the moment like anger is only for a moment. (The printer wanted to change that word discipling to disciplining; but God’s tenderness comes to us anew when we realize that disciplining with its sharp edge means the same as discipling with its softer warmer touch.) The loving favor is for always, a lifetime of eternal life.
Again David says, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.” The margin explains that the thing that weighs as a burden is something God has given us. He has sent it or allowed it to come. He has strong purpose in all He does. Here the promise is not that the burden will be removed, but that He will pick up both you and your burden into His arms and carry both. Many a man has praised God for the burden that made him know the tender touch of strong arms.
The same thing is repeated in the Sixty-eighth Psalm with tender variations. “Blessed be the Lord who day by day beareth our burden.” Probably Peter knew a good bit about this subject. His temperament was of the impulsive sort that knows quick squalls at sea. But he had learned how to ride through them undisturbed to the calmer waters. He says, “Casting all your anxiety upon Him because He careth for you.” The force of the French version is said to be “unloading your anxiety upon Him.” Back the cart up, tilt it over, let down the tail-board, let it all slip out over upon Him. The literal reading of that last half is,
“He has you on His heart.”
“Is not this enough alone
For the gladness of the day?”
But many of us have an inner feeling that some matters are too small, too trivial to take to God. We will take the great things, the serious things to Him and find the help needed. But it seems childish almost to be bothering the great God about trifling details, we are apt to think. We are even annoyed with ourselves to think that we have allowed such petty things to make us lose our balance and control. We want to underscore and italicize this fact: if a thing is big enough to concern you, it is not too small for Him “because He has you on His heart.” For your sake He is eager to help in anything, however small in itself it may seem.
Indeed it is the little things that fret and tease and nag so. The big things are more easily handled. But the little insectivorous details that will not down! Have you ever had this experience? You have retired on a hot summer night, tired and heavy with sleep. You are almost off when a mosquito that in some inexplicable way has eluded all screens and nettings comes singing its way about your face. It is just one. It seems so small. If it were only big enough to hit, something worthy of one’s strength. But the mean little nagging specimen seems to elude every effort of yours. Maybe you take calm, deliberate measures to end its existence, but meanwhile you are thoroughly aroused and lose quite a bit of the sleep you need.
Just such a mosquito warfare do the little cares make upon one’s strength, frittering it away. It cannot be too insistently repeated that whatever is big enough to cause me any thought is not too small for my God. He is concerned because I am concerned.
A Steamer Chair for His Friend
It helps immensely here to recall the necessary qualities of a great executive, one who is concerned about the conduct of large affairs. There are two great qualities absolutely needful in any one occupying such a position. There must be the ability to grasp the whole scheme involved, and to keep one’s finger upon every detail, as well. God is a great executive, the great executive of the universe. He planned the vast scheme of worlds making up the universe, and every detail. The whole universe in its immensity, and the intricacy of its movements, is kept in motion by Him. And every detail down to the smallest, the falling of one of the smallest birds, is ever under His thoughtful eye and touch. And He is our God. He has each of us on His heart.
We may learn of God by looking at man, made in His image. A story is told of a merchant well known on both sides of the water, illustrating this. His business interests are very extensive, with great stores in three of the world’s great cities. He has displayed great genius for controlling the details of his vast enterprise. It is said that at one time when his business was developing its greatness, this was his habit. He would come to a clerk’s desk unexpectedly and, sitting down quietly, note the transactions that came along. Here was a sales slip; three yards of calico, seven cents per yard, twenty-one cents; a bolt of tape, three cents, total twenty-four cents; cash fifty cents, twenty-six cents change. He would very quietly note the calculations, and call attention to any inaccuracies.
He might stay there a half-hour. Then he was away again. It was never known when he might come, nor where. He was always marked for his genial courtesy toward all his employees. That was his habit for years, I am told. His talent for details amounts to positive genius. And with this goes the ability to originate and build up and keep ever growing his vast business operations. And this man is but one of a very large class in our day of specialized organization. This faculty of controlling both the whole, and each detail, is a bit of the image of God in these men. Only man is ever less than God. The best organization slips sometimes, somewhere. But God never fails. Each of us is personal to Him. He can think of each as though there were no other needing His thought, and He does.
A little incident is told of George Mueller of Bristol, England. He is the man who taught the whole world anew how to trust God. Poor in his own holdings, he expended millions of dollars in caring for orphans, supporting missionaries, and distributing printed truth. He never asked any man for money nor made any needs known. He trusted God for all and for each. The two thousand and more orphans, and the cutting of his quill pen were alike subjects of prayer with him.
At one time, in the course of his missionary travels around the world, he was embarking on an ocean voyage. He was an old man at the time, and accompanied by a young man who attended to the details of travel. After they had boarded the steamer his companion came up hurriedly to say that the steamer chair for Mr. Mueller’s use was not on board and he could not get any trace of it. It would of course be a very necessary convenience for the steamer trip. Mr. Mueller inquired if the proper notice had been sent to have it on board. Yes, all had been done that should have been done. And now the time was very short.
Mr. Mueller breathed a quiet prayer, and then said to his companion not to be disturbed, that he felt sure it would be on hand in time. The attendant went off again to see what could be done, came back evidently annoyed at the possibility of his elder distinguished companion being inconvenienced. But Mr. Mueller quieted him with the assurance that the chair would come. They stood at the side rail above, overlooking the dock.
At the very last moment, just as the hawsers were about to be thrown off, and the gang plank pulled away, a truck of luggage was hurriedly run on board, and on top of the pile the friends watching above could plainly see a steamer chair with G. M. marked on it. Mr. Mueller, standing in his group of friends, looked up past them and quietly said, “Father, I thank Thee.” Was God in that simple occurrence? He surely was. He was concerned that His faithful friend should have the chair for his bodily comfort. Man’s arrangements seemed in danger of slipping. His overruling touch was put in for His friend’s sake. A chair wasn’t too small for God because it was for His friend, Mr. Mueller.
He Has You on His Heart
I got a similar story from Dr. James H. Brookes of St. Louis, a number of years ago while in his home over night. It was about J. Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, who had learned through many years of trusting how faithful God is. Mr. Taylor had been speaking in Dr. Brookes’ church, and was to go to a town in southern Illinois to speak at the Sabbath services. Saturday morning they went down to the railroad station to get the train, and stepped into the station just as the train was pulling out at the other end. There was no possible chance of catching it. It seemed all the more exasperating that they could see the train moving away out of reach.
Dr. Brookes of course felt much chagrined. Mr. Taylor being a stranger in the country, and the guest of Dr. Brookes, had trusted his arrangements. Inquiries were quickly made about other trains. But there would not be another train out that way until night. And as they were questioning and talking the station-master said, “There’s that train over there; it runs into Illinois and crosses another road down to where you want to go. They are supposed to make connections, but they never do.” Dr. Brookes said he went off to make further inquiries, and coming back in a few moments was surprised to find Mr. Taylor standing on the rear platform of the train that never made the connection.
He said, “Why, Mr. Taylor, that won’t make the connection.” And Mr. Taylor smiled and in his very quiet way said, “Good-bye, Doctor, my Father runneth the trains.” That seemed to sound well for a sermon. But to Dr. Brookes’ misgivings there came again the quiet “Good-bye, Doctor, my Father runneth the trains.” After starting Mr. Taylor explained the situation to the conductor, the importance of his engagement, and of making the desired connection, hoping the trainman might be of some service. The man hoped he would get the train, but said it was very doubtful as they rarely did. Mr. Taylor thanked him, and sat quietly praying.
Was the connection made? As Mr. Taylor’s train pulled in the other was standing at the station. The conductor said, “Well, there it is, but I didn’t expect it.” There was quite enough time to get across the platform without hurrying and into the other train when it moved off. Was God in that? I have no difficulty at all in understanding that He was. What concerned His friend, in a strange land, on an errand for Himself surely concerned Him. What concerns any trusting child of His concerns Him, for He has us on His heart.
I recall a personal experience in Boston one summer day. It was a very hot day. I was to meet my mother and sister in the North Union station, where we were to take a train out. I had their tickets. I reached the station from my errands, hot and tired and with my head aching, ideal conditions for worry. As I stepped into the station I realized at once that our appointment to meet was not very definite. For the large station was crowded. There was not much time before our train would go. And I commenced to be agitated, which is a gentler way of saying worried. What would I do? It would be extremely inconvenient, especially for my mother, to miss the train. And the time was short, and—and—.
You see I was not a graduate in this don’t-worry school. I’m not yet; still studying; expect to enter for post work when I do graduate. The school is still open; open to all; instruction given individually only; the Teacher has had long experience Himself on the earth, in the thick of things.
Well, I said as I stood a moment in the thick crowd, “Master, you know where they are. Please take me to them. Maybe I should have been more careful about the appointment, but I was tired at the start. Please—thank you.” And in less time than it takes to tell you I met them right in the thick of the great crowd. And I felt sure that Peter got his putting of it straight when he said of the Master, “He has you on His heart.”
Paul’s Prison Psalm
Did Paul follow his own rules? The best answer to that is this little four-chaptered epistle where the rules are found. Philippians is a prison psalm. The clanking of chains resounds throughout its brief pages. At one end is Philippi; at the other Rome. Here is the Philippian end. In the inner dungeon of a prison, dark, dirty, damp, is a man, Paul. His back is bleeding and sore from the whipping-post. His feet are fast in the stocks. His position is about as cramped and painful as it can be. It is midnight. Paul would be asleep for weariness and exhaustion, but the position and the pain hinder.
Does no temptation come to him? He had been following a vision in coming over to Philippi. This is a great ending to the vision he’s been having. Did no such temptation come? Very likely it did. But Paul is an old campaigner. He knows best what to do. He begins singing. His music is pitched in the major too. Most likely he is singing one of the old Hebrew psalms that he knew by heart. It was a psalm of praise. That is one end of this epistle.
At the other end Paul is a prisoner at Rome. As he sits dictating his letter, if he gets tired and would swing one limb over the other for a change, a heavy chain at his ankle reminds him of his bonds. As he reaches for a quill to put a loving touch to the end of the parchment, again the forged steel pulls at his wrist. That is the setting of Philippians, the prison psalm. What is its key word? Is it patience? That would seem appropriate. Is it long-suffering? More appropriate yet. Some of us know about short-suffering, but we are apt to be a bit short on long-suffering. The keyword is joy, with its variations of rejoice, and rejoicing.
And notice what joy is. It is the cataract in the stream of life. Peace is the gentle even flowing of the river. Joy is where the waters go bubbling, leaping with ecstatic bound, and forever after, as they go on, making the channel deeper for the quiet flow of peace. Paul had put his no-worry rules through the crucible of experience. He follows the Master in that. These three rules really mean living ever in that Master’s presence. When we realize that He is ever alongside then it will be easier to be
Anxious for nothing,
Thankful for anything,
Prayerful about everything.
He Touched Her Hand
One morning on waking, a woman charged with the care of a home began thinking of the day’s simple duties. And as she thought they seemed to magnify and pile up. There was her little daughter to get off to school with her luncheon. Some of the church ladies were coming that morning for a society meeting, and she had been planning a dainty luncheon for them. The maid in the kitchen was not exactly ideal—yet. And as she thought into the day her head began aching.
After breakfast, as her husband was leaving for the day’s business, he took her hand and kissed her good-bye. “Why,” he said, “my dear, your hand is feverish. I’m afraid you’ve been doing too much. Better just take a day off.” And he was gone. And she said to herself, “A day off! The idea! Just like a man to think that I could take a day off.” But she had been making a habit of getting a little time for reading and prayer after breakfast. Pity she had not put it in earlier, at the day’s very start. Yet maybe she could not. Sometimes it is not possible. Yet most times it is possible, by planning.
Now she slipped to her room and, sitting down quietly, turned to the chapter in her regular place of reading. It was the eighth of Matthew. As she read she came to the words, “And He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose and ministered unto Him.” And she knelt and breathed out the soft prayer for a touch of the Master’s hand upon her own. And it came as she remained there a few moments. And then with much quieter spirit she went on into the day.
The luncheon for the church ladies was not quite so elaborate as she had planned. There came to her an impulse to tell her morning’s experience. She shrank from doing it. It seemed a sacred thing. They might not understand. But the impulse remained and she obeyed it, and quietly told them. And as they listened there seemed to come a touch of the Spirit’s presence upon them all. And so the day was a blessed one. Its close found her husband back again. And as he greeted her he said quietly, “My dear, you did as I said, didn’t you? The fever’s gone.”