Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Lover of souls brings rose from brier

Lover of souls, Thee have I heard

Lover of souls, Thee have I heard,
Thee will I sing, for sing I must;
Thy good and comfortable word
Hath raised my spirit from the dust.

In dusty ways my feet had strayed,
And foolish fears laid hold on me,
Until what time I was afraid
I suddenly remembered Thee.

Remembering Thee, I straight forgot
What other while had troubled me;
It was as though it all were not;
I only was aware of Thee.

Of Thee, of Thee alone, aware,
I rested me, I held me still;
The blessed thought of Thee, most Fair,
Dispelled the brooding sense of ill.

Then quietness around me fell,
And Thou didst speak; my spirit heard.
I worshiped and rejoiced, for well
I knew Thy comfortable word.

Whoso hath known that comforting,
The inward touch that maketh whole,
How can she ever choose but sing,
To Thee, O Lover of my soul!

Rose from brier

“I have no desire that my imprisonment should end before the right time; I love my chains. My senses, indeed, have not any relish for such things, but my heart is separated from them and borne over them.”

Madam Guyon said that. I cannot say that I love my chains in any literal sense whatever, nor do I believe that we are meant to do so. Our Lord did not tell the woman who was bound to love the cords that bound her. But in the sense that Madam Guyon meant the words [indeed, she said her senses had no relish for such things!] I believe that He can give us grace to find something truly lovable in that which [while He allows it to continue] is His will for us.

Disappointments, for example; in a quiet procession these weary little things have entered this room. After the foot began to mend other troubles came, one after the other, pulling me up just when it seemed as though I might soon begin to walk. As each corner was turned we thought it would be the last, but there was always another.

But one of the first of these disappointments was lighted by something so sweet and dear that I knew at once it could not be only for me, but must be for you – you who know so much about these matters of continuing trial and pain!

One of our Fellowship was at home on furlough, and he was to return to us on February 25; I had set my heart on being up and ready to meet him and the new brother whom he was bringing with him. I was sure I would be at the Welcoming Service to sing the welcome song, and for a month or so before that date it seemed as if I would indeed be there… Then all hope gradually faded. I was still in bed when they came – not even in a chair.

That morning of the Welcoming Service, while the chiming bells were ringing from the tower, in spirit I was far more in the midst of that beloved crowd in the House of Prayer than in my room. And I ached to be there really, not just in spirit – I ached until all of me was one ache; and then, each word as clear as though it slid down the clear chiming bells, deep within my heart, this little song within me:

Thou hast not that, My child, but thou hast Me,
And am not I alone enough for thee?
I know it all, know how thy heart was set
Upon this joy which is not given yet.

And well I know how through the wistful days
Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways,
As unregarded as a breath of air,
But there in love and longing, always there!

I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow
A rose for others. If it were not so
I would have told thee. Come then, say to Me:
My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.

“From thy brier shall blow a rose for others.” In the hills of South India there are tall and beautiful bushes of wild roses. The roses are larger than ours at home and of an unforgettable sweetness. But they were not called to mind by these words. I saw rather a little, low, very prickly bush in an old-fashioned English garden; it was covered with inconspicuous pink roses. But the wonder of the bush was its all-pervading fragrance, for it was a sweetbrier. And I saw One who has been long in the land where no thorns grow, cutting a spray from the bush, stripping the thorns off and giving it to me. And may those who walk the road and street, as unregarded as a breath of air, but there in love and longing, always there… may they find a rose from my brier caused to grow – and may they find no prickling thorn on the stem of this rose from my brier!

I think that when He whom our soul loveth comes so near to us, and so gently helps our human weakness, then what Madam Guyon wrote nearly three hundred years ago becomes a present truth. We are borne over the oppression that would hold us down, we mount up on wings, we find a secret sweetness in our brier. But it is not of us. It is Love that lifts us up. It is Love that is the sweetness!

Is the one who reads this in great weariness, or the exhaustion that follows a sore hurt, or in the terrible grasp of pain? He who loves as no one else can love, who understands to the uttermost, is not far away. He wants us to say, He can give it to us to say, “My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.”



Amy Carmichael, Rose from Brier, 50-53.

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