July 20 - UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS
"For this God is our God for ever and ever."
—Ps. xlviii. 14.
On the west coast of Scotland, out in the Atlantic, lies the little island of lona. Such sights it has seen : Columba and his missionaries who went near and far; the boat anchored on the beach that brought some saint from Ireland; the tiny fleet which carried the body of a Scandinavian king to be buried in the holy ground; the famine and fire and slaughter of the heathen; Queen Margaret's happier time and fostering care. It is many a long year since she died. But the island survives, and the sea lashes its shores as it did before Columba came, and the unwearied sun rises morning by morning on St. Oran's Chapel and the waters of the Sound. Like island and sea and sun, God is to hearts that trust him—unchangeable, whatever else passes away.
I contrast Him with human teachers and friends. I look back on some whose speech used to thrill my being, and whose example moved me powerfully. I long for the touch of vanished hands and the sound of voices that are still. But my Lord Himself is here. I have His Word, living and active. I have His Spirit, convincing and comforting as ever. I can hearken to His accents, and find them impulse and rest, wine and balm, wisdom and might. He is better than the best of men. His eye is clearer; His arm is stronger; His feet are swifter; His heart is kinder. And He remains always.
I contrast Him with religious institutions and beliefs. Old doctrines are questioned, old forms of worship no longer held in the honour that was given them once. The sifting and scrutiny will do me good, if they compel me to enquire into the grounds of my faith and to cherish it more intelligently than I am accustomed to do. But, in any event, God stands sure. If I lost Him, I should lose everything. Because I cannot lose Him, I have abundant compensation for change elsewhere. The Father's glory cannot be shaken. The virtue of the Saviour's blood is undiminished. The Spirit's grace does not dwindle and perish. My Lord is untouched —Prophet, Priest, King, Lover and Beloved.
I contrast Him with spiritual frames and moods. Through many avenues sin returns to my regenerated life, and fear creeps in, and joy departs, and restlessness deprives me of strength and calm. Is there alteration in God as there is in me ? There is none whatever. He is untiring in His readiness to forgive, in His refusal to be driven from me by my unworthiness, in His power to use even my sins for my humbling and my sanctifying and my growth in grace. It is His patient love which makes my progress possible. It is the dew of the Lord which keeps green the field of my soul. He abides.
Through life and death, sorrow and sinning, He is my God for ever and ever.