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    SORROW

    We should be thankful for our tears: They prepare us for a clearer vision of God.

    William A. Ward.


    In northern Chile, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, lies a narrow strip of land where the sun shines every day! Clouds gather so seldom over the valley that one can say, "It almost never rains here!" Morning after morning the sun rises brilliantly over the tall mountains to the east. Each noon it shines brightly overhead, and every evening it brings a picturesque sunset. Although storms are often seen rising high in the mountains, and heavy fog banks hand their gray curtains far over the sea, Old Sol continues to shed his warming rays upon this "favored" and protected strip of territory. One might imagine this area to be an earthly paradise, but is far from that! It is a sterile and desolate wilderness! There are no streams of water, and nothing grows there.

    We often long for total sunshine and continuous joy in life, and we desire to avoid the heartaches that bring tears to our eyes. Like that sunny, unfertile part of Chile, however, life without clouds and even an occasional downpour would not be productive or challenging. But though showers do come, they will also end, and the sun will shine again. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5).

    Our Daily Bread.


    Not long after arriving in new Hebrides as a pioneer missionary, John G. Paton and his wife rejoiced in the coming of a baby son to gladden their home. But the joy was short-lived. Soon death took both his wife and child, and Dr. Paton had to dig their graves and bury his loved ones with his own hands. In writing of this experience, he testified, "If it had not been for Jesus and the fellowship and grace He afforded me, I am certain I would have gone mad or died of grief beside their lonely graves." Marvelously strengthened from above, the bereaved servant of God found that the promises of the Word were able to sustain him through the heartache and sorrow of his tragic loss.

    Our Daily Bread, August 6, 1992


    Commentary and Devotion

    Crying is common in this world. It does little good to ask the reason for it. Muddyscuttle is what one might call a weeping planet. Laughter can be heard here and there, but by and large, weeping predominates. With maturity the sound and reason for crying changes, but never does it stop. All infants do it everywhere--even in public. By adulthood most crying is done alone and in the dark. Weeping, for babies, is a sign of health and evidence that they are alive. Isn't this a chilling omen? Not laughter but tears is the life sign. It leaves "weeping" and "being" synonyms.

    Calvin Miller, The Valiant Papers, p. 22.


    Poetry

    Let thy gold be cast in the furnace,
    The red gold, precious and bright;
    Do not fear the hungry fire,
    With its caverns of burning light;
    And thy gold shall return more precious,
    Free from every spot and stain;
    For gold must be tried by fire,
    As a heart must be tried by pain!
    In the cruel fire of Sorrow
    Cast thy heart, do not faint or wail;
    Let thy hand be firm and steady
    Do not let thy spirit quail:
    But wait till the trial is over
    And take thy heart again;
    For as gold is tried by fire,
    So a heart must be tried by pain!
    I shall know by the gleam and the glitter
    Of the golden chain you wear,
    By your heart's calm strength in loving,
    Of the fire they have had to bear.
    Beat on, true heart, forever!
    Shine bright, strong golden chain!
    And bless the cleansing fire,
    And the furnace of living pain!

    Adelaide Anne Proctor


    "The road is too rough," I said,
    "Dear Lord, there are stones that hurt me so."
    And He said, "Dear child, I understand,
    I walked it long ago."
    "But there's a cool green path," I said;
    "Let me walk there for a time."
    "No child," He gently answered me,
    "The green path does not climb."
    "My burden," I said, "Is far too great,
    How can I bear it so?"
    "My child," He said, "I remember the weight;
    I carried My cross, you know."
    But I said, "I wish there were friends with me
    Who would make my way their own."
    "Oh, yes," He said, "Gethsemane
    Was hard to bear alone."
    And so I climb the stony path,
    Content at last to know
    That where my Master had not gone,
    I would not need to go.
    And strangely then I found new friends,
    The burden grew less sore;
    And I remember--long ago
    He went that way before.

    Olga J. Weiss