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Psalm 55:22

Blind Hymn Writer

The hymn writer Georg Neumark was a dedicated Christian who was afflicted with blindness in his later years. This infirmity was just one more trial in a life already filled with heartache. While still a young man, he had been reduced to poverty and was down to his last penny. Yet his trust in God did not fail, for he found great strength in the promise, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.” He prayed earnestly for God’s help. The answer came in the form of an unexpected appointment as tutor for the family of a rich judge. Relieved and delighted, he was prompted to compose one of his best-known hymns, “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee,” to thank the Lord for His sustaining grace. Later Johann Sebastian Bach saw such beauty in the hymn that he used it as the basis for a cantata, and Mendelssohn included it in his oratorio Saint Paul.

Our Daily Bread, Friday, May 8.

The Parable of Tomorrow

In her poem “The Parable of Tomorrow,” Ruth Gibbs Zwall offers this description of the Savior’s leading:

“I looked at the mountain.
‘It is too hard, Lord,’ I said;
‘I cannot climb.’
‘Take My hand,’ He whispered;
‘I will be your strength.’

I saw the road,
‘It is too long, Lord,’ I said;
‘so rough and long.’
‘Take My love,’ He answered;
‘I will guard your feet.’

I looked at the sky.
‘The sun is gone,’ I said;
‘already the way grows dark.’
‘Take the lantern of My Word,’ He whispered;
‘that will be light enough.’

We climbed.
The road was narrow and steep,
but the way was bright.
And when the thorns reached out,
they found His hand before they touched my own.

And when my path grew rough,
I knew it was His love that kept my feet from stumbling.
Then I grew very tired.
‘I can go no farther, Lord,’ I said.
He answered, ‘Night is gone. Look up, My child.’

I looked and it was dawn.
Green valleys stretched below.
‘I can go on alone now,’ I said
—and then I saw the marks.
‘Lord, Thou art wounded.
Thy hands are bleeding.
Thy feet are bruised. Was it for me?’

He whispered, ‘I did it gladly.’
Then I fell at His feet.
‘Lord, lead me on,’ I cried.
‘No road too long, no valley too deep,
if Thou art with me.’
We walk together now and shall forever!”

Our Daily Bread, Tuesday, June 18.

Anxiety

In the book Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Lettie B. Cowman tells of a minister who was heavily burdened under a load of anxiety and care. After carrying this weight for quite some time, he one day imagined that he could place his burden on the ground and stand back a pace or two. Then he could look at it and analyze it. When he did, he discovered that it was made up almost entirely of borrowed things. A good portion of it belonged to tomorrow. An even larger amount of it belonged to the week to come. And a sizable percentage was a carryover from his yesterdays.

Mrs. Cowman indicated that this pastor was guilty of “a very stupid but a very ancient blunder.” He had made the mistake of burdening himself in the “now” with things that belonged to “yesterday and tomorrow.” “Never yield to gloomy anticipations,” she concluded. “Who told you that the night would never end in day? Who told you that the winter of your discontent should proceed from frost to frost, from snow and hail and ice to deeper snow? Do you not know that day follows night, ... that spring and summer succeed winter? Place your hope and confidence in God. He has no record of failure.”

Our Daily Bread