Somebody's going to get me for some kind of infringement...

Do Thou for me, O God the Lord,
Do Thou for me;
I need not toil to find the word
That carefully
Unfolds my prayer and offers it,
My God, to Thee.

It is enough that Thou wilt do,
And wilt not tire,
Wilt lead by cloud, all the night through
By light of fire,
Till Thou has perfected in me
Thy heart's desire.

O blessed be the love that bears
The burden now,
The love that frames our very prayers,
Well knowing how
To coin our gold; O God the Lord,
Do Thou, do Thou.

"Do Thou for Me"

I wrote before of a soldier being removed to another part of the field when he is wounded--to a field hospital, so to speak, not a shelf--and of how, as pain lessens, one may fight among the unseen forces, joining with the angels and all the powers of Good, joining with our Lord Himself, who ever liveth to make intercession.

But I have not found myself that illness makes prayer easier, nor do any of our family who have been ill tell me that they have found it so. Prayerfulness does not seem to be a flower of the spirit that grows of itself. When we are well perhaps we rather take it for granted that it does, as though what is sometimes called a "sick-bed" offered natural soil for that precious flower. I do not think that it does. A bed can be a place of dullness of spirit as well as of body, and prayer is, after all work--the most strenuous work in all the world. And yet it is our only way of joining the fighting force (we have declined the easy laid-aside cracked-china view of the matter). So what can we do about it?

One night, soon after neuritis had taken possession of me from shoulder-blade to finger-tips, I could no more gather myself up to pray than I could turn in bed without the help of the Lotus Bud, who was my faithful night-nurse. But I could read, and I opened on Psalm cix.

Do Thou for me, O God the Lord. Do what? It does not say. It just says, Do Thou for me.

And the prayer, so simple, so easy for a tired heart, had a delivering power. It delivered from the oppression of the enemy. "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved"; it was like that.

And soon the prayer passed into the most restful kind of intercession, the only kind the ill can attain unto, for they cannot pray in detail and they may know little or nothing of the needs of their dearest. But He knows all, down to the smallest wish of the heart. So we do not need to coin our gold in words, we could not if we tried: we are far too tired for that; and He who knoweth our frame does not ask us to do anything so arduous: Do Thou for her, do Thou for him, do Thou for them, O God the Lord.

This word of peace had greatly eased my spirit, when a letter came from the Secretary of the Dohnavur Fellowship Invalids' League. She quoted from the letter of a Danish invalid too ill to pray as she longed to do: "This form of illness is very sad; but I am sure that God will learn His children in such times to have all their joy in God alone and not in the service for Him, not in their own forces. Of course you are thankful for these things also; but the heart of a child of God must be so, that God Himself is enough for it."

Was ever a deep truth more simply and beautifully spoken? Perhaps the word is meant for more than the ill. It is a word for all to whom He is the Best Beloved.

There was another night when, reading again in the Psalms, I discovered (I had not noticed it before) that the prayer, "Lord, all my desire is before Thee," was first prayed by a sick man: "Lord, all my desire is before Thee, and my groaning is not hid from Thee."

Next morning I was not able to write the usual note to my scattered family. (Before the accident I had usually had a few minutes with some of them at early morning tea between 6.30 and 7. After that interruption I sent them, when I could, a word which had fed me; and this grew into sharing my pot of manna with the larger family.) But the good angel of this peaceful room hung a picture of a bluebell wood on the front of the low chair on whose seat my feet rested. It is there now, a continual pleasure. The delicious green of young beech is seen against a pale sky; the blue of the bluebells rises like a softly murmured prayer ("Understand Thou my softly murmured prayer" is Rotherham's rendering of Psalm v.I), or like the silence of love that lays its desire before its Beloved and leaves it there. Perhaps the little Song of Content that came singing through the bluebell wood that morning may have something for others also, like the rose on the sweet-brier:

As the misty bluebell wood,
Very still and shadowy,
Does not seek for or compel
Several word from several bell,
But lifts up her quiet blue--
So all my desire is before Thee.

For the prayer of human hearts
In the shadow of the Tree,
Various as the various flowers,
Blown by wind and wet by showers,
Rests at last in silent love--
Lord, all my desire is before Thee.

"In the shadow of the Tree"; the daffodils, that came before the bluebells, danced in the blessed sunshine. We have had daffodil days. If now for a season we are set like the bluebells in a shadowy place, that shade can only be the shadow of the Tree. "I sat down under His Shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste." Do the words seem to rapturous to be quite true? O Lord, Thou knowest; Lord, all my desire is before Thee.

1 comment:

Amber said...

"to have all their joy in God alone and not in the service for Him..."

wow. and then to share bread with many people..sounds familiar -eh?

good word. please continue sharing this stuff.