New Year Greetings
It is customary to send the formula A HAPPY NEW YEAR! to all our friends and relatives. Much as I would like to do the same, I sense the impropriety of doing so. From a Christian perspective, happiness is not something that is always on God’s agenda for our lives. Granted it comes, with gratitude, in small doses, but usually sandwiched between times of stress, anxiety, pain, and suffering. I have noted with sadness the passing of some friends and acquaintances through the month of December, and it is always more trying when this happens near to Christmas.
Instead, I should like to wish all my readers A RICH AND BLESSED NEW YEAR! full of examples of God’s mercy and love, His discipline and teaching, His joy and enlightenment, and a willingness to accept all that befalls us as coming from His tender hands, allowing Him to train and prepare us for His coming Kingdom.
One who suffered greatly was Annie Johnson Flint, born on Christmas Eve 1866 in the little town of Vineland, New Jersey. Her first twenty years were of normal development, and as a Christian she trained to become a teacher. But after only two years of teaching she began to suffer from arthritis, which developed into a chronic condition from which she never recovered. The rest of her life, from about 1892 to 1932, was spent in a wheelchair. In order to obtain a meagre living she wrote poems which were published by magazines. Having an indomitable spirit she never succumbed to misery or wretchedness, but grew strong in spirit and the knowledge of her Lord. The following poem not only shows her own steadfast faith, but is a sermon on life for us all.
God hath not promised skies always blue, Flower strewn pathways all our lives through; God hath not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God hath not promised we shall not know Toil and temptation, trouble and woe; He hath not told us we shall not bear Many a burden, many a care.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide, Swift, easy travel, needing no guide; Never a mountain rocky and steep, Never a river turbid and deep.
But God hath promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way, Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
May God be praised for such an example of steadfast faith in the face of a condition that would crush many.
We have now reached the end of the current series of Wayside Pulpits. Next year I shall begin a new series, with a new title, as the Lord gives leading.