How sweet the memory—as a child when disappointments came
My mother’s faith and courage sweet, that put my own to shame.
For in the time of trouble deep my faith would weaken sore,
While hers just seemed to thrive on trials and only grow the more.
And then it was I’d hear her say as my doubts took to wings,
“Why—God is still upon the throne and prayer changes things.”
But, after years, I wandered from the shrine at mother’s knee:
For seeming wise and learned men had clearly shown to me
That such a simple, childlike faith was now quite obsolete,
Belonging just to ages past, today—for fools ‘twas meet.
“All this,” they said, “is only myth and from gross ignorance springs,
That God is still upon the throne, and prayer changes things.”
Their way seemed well in weather fair but Oh! when troubles came
It didn’t meet the need at all—’twas such a futile game.
“Now just hold on,” the scoffer said, “there’s nothing else to do.”
But that was just the trouble when there was naught to hold on to.
For I had lost the simple faith that such assurance brings,
That God is still upon the throne, and prayer changes things.
So I turned back with eager heart to the old-fashioned way:
And now I know that God is real, no matter what they say.
For better proof could not be had than truly answered prayer,
And answered too in such a way as to know—God is there.
And where is greater happiness than the peace that this truth brings
That God is still upon the throne, and prayer changes things.
I can never forget the day when it dawned upon my consciousness as a reality, a fact, that the promises of the Bible were practical, could actually be applied to my everyday needs. It was a revelation to me. I had been taught the Bible since earliest childhood, but never had I realized that God meant exactly what He said in the numerous promises given in His Word, and that He would fulfill them to the very letter if faith would reach out and claim them in a definite manner.
God’s Word said, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4).
So after all it is a very serious matter to either overlook or look lightly at the promises of God, because by these we become “partakers of the divine nature.” I would never dared to have taken a promise and stepped out on it expecting God to really meet me, for to my limited faith-knowledge they were only beautiful scripture language, never meant to be taken seriously or for practical application. I fear I was like the woman who was asked, “Well, why do you think God put all these promises in His Word? What are they for?”
“Why just to fill up space,” I suppose.
I believe, however, if I had thought about it at all, I was more like the very ignorant Scottish woman who had lived most of her life hidden way back in the hill country of Scotland, and who was so poor she was unable to pay her rent, and so had to depend upon her church to take care of it for her.
One day when her pastor, a very kind-hearted man, brought the rent to her, he said, “Mrs. McKintrick, you will pardon me if I speak very plainly to you about something and I am sure you will understand. Your friends, who are helping you with the rent cannot understand why it is that your boy does not support you. I understand he has a very good position in Australia, and that he is a good boy and loves you dearly. Is this not the case?”
“Oh yes, said the mother, “and he never forgets me, for every week he writes me the most loving letter; I would like for you to see one of his letters.” Curious to know more of such a son, who could so love a mother, and yet leave her without support, the pastor instantly signified that he would be glad to hear some of the letters. Soon the woman returned with two packages, one of which she put in the pastor’s hands and said, “These are his letters.” The pastor was untying the faded string about them when she said, “With every letter he always sends me a pretty picture. They aren’t very big, and just fit nicely in the letter, but it shows he thinks about me.”
The pastor lifted his head, interested at once. “A picture in every letter.” He was more curious than ever. “May I see them also?”
“Oh, surely,” she answered, “some are of a man’s head, some of a man sitting on a horse, and a number of them have the king’s picture on them. See this one here has the King of England—long live the king!”
“Long live your son,” said the astonished pastor. “Why, my dear friend, do you know that you are a rich woman? These are bank notes, this is money. Why, you have wealth here; and to think of how you have suffered and done without, when right here in the house all the time you had riches and thought they were just pretty pictures.”
This was surely my trouble when it came to the promises in God’s Word. I thought they were just pretty pictures, just beautiful language. For instance the twenty-third Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.” To me this was just beautiful poetry, a picture story. I never dreamed for a moment that it has a literal application—that Jesus would be to us just such a shepherd and fulfill in our experience every verse of that Psalm, if we really trusted Him. What a pity that so many today look upon the hundreds of promises in God’s Word in the same manner.
How few there are after all who are like the other dear saint of God in whose home the minister was taking tea. While she was in the kitchen he picked up her much worn Bible and rather absently began to turn the leaves, when he noticed here and there along the margin these two letters, T.P. When she came back in the room with the tea he said, “Auntie, I was enjoying looking at your Bible, but what do these letters mean, that you have written here so many places? T.P. and here it is again, T.P. and here.”
“Oh, Brother,” she said, her face lighting with joy, “that means tried and proven. In the time of some great need I have taken those promises and claimed them as my very own. They are the ones that I have tried and proven true.”
How precious, indeed, and that’s exactly the way the Lord intends us to use them. He wants us to prove His Word, use it in our time of need. “Prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord,” until with strength, faith, and sweet confidence we can write on the margin beside many a verse, “tried and proven.”
God’s Word says, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises,” and there are hundreds of them.
Abundant supply! Limitless resources! “Streams that never run dry.” “Let us go in and possess the land,” or we will be like the thick-headed Israelites for whom God had made such large provision, and yet they never inherited the promise because of their unbelief. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
But how can I have this overcoming faith? How can I appropriate these promises for myself? How can I try and prove them?
We have tried to give you in the following pages practical suggestions of how you can get things from God.