Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Monday, March 14, 2011

Heart Conditions, All Sorts

There are times, and this is one of them, when a cold, tight band presses round the heart.

It is a time when such a feeling of helplessness is present, when one is banished to the sidelines as a spectator only, when Fear attacks.

Lions not only line the pathway but seem to fill Life's arena.

Perhaps hearts are still a bit tender, emotions still fragile, memories all too fresh from past battles. This old pilgrim is not feeling brave, only vulnerable today.

Not too many miles from here, our tiniest family member begins a challenge not always presented to one so young - at least not in our clan. Her wee little heart, not quite complete, will be meddled with by large surgeon hands, the chubbiness of her little body invaded. Soon even, her wee chest will be opened in the hope that things can be made better for her. On the drawing board, all this looks noble and grand. But it is our own little lass that is the center of all this. That is what seems so frightful, which causes the tears to fall.

But it is not her heart only. There are the very courageous hearts of her young momma and daddy who, like Abraham of old offer their precious child to the mercy of God through the skill of others.

There is the valiant hearted Nana too. Her heart with its yet unhealed scars of poignant loss.

Then on the far side of the world is our young Naval medic, on board ship "positioning to the shoreline of Japan". And here, on this side of the world, his dear young wife. Her heart perhaps more challenged than any. First with all the unknowns surrounding her beloved, the separation which has called on all the faith and strength of her young life. But she is also the auntie of our little one. She too is sidelined in a way, unable to make better all that perplexes.

So then, this is a fragment of the portrait of our family in the present. All are interconnected and family beyond the reach of the present situations are involved. We are bound by a great love, by a Faith that has spanned the generations, by prayer that covers in greatest measure, by a Faithful God in whom we all trust.

Two precious scriptures have come to mind and shine bright this day: "Only a spectator shall you be, yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High...."
and "but cling to the Lord your God as you have done to this day." [Psa. 91.8a, Amp.; Josh. 23.8]

So for This Day, we, in the words of Amy Charmichael, "run clinging, for we are held" for underneath are the Everlasting Arms.
My thanks to Louis DeLaForet, who posted his perfect photo on the BBC News page.