Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Heard a Voice Behind Me

-George Matheson

"I heard a voice behind me, as of a trumpet" -Revelation 1:10

I heard a voice behind me;
On the road I had passed it by;
It was lost in the way of the garish day;
It was powerless while it was nigh;
It was like the ram in the thicket
That Abraham did not find
Till he turned his back on the coming track,
And looked on the days behind.

And so, my soul, it is ever
With the blessings round thy head;
They are not known till the bird is flown,
And the bloom of the flower is dead.
Thou art pressing on to the future,
And the past is out of mind
Till the hour of pain calls thee back again
To dwell in the days behind.

Thou art asking a revelation

Of thy Father's guiding love,
And it seems to thee that thy light shall be
From the things that are stored above,
But the path whereon now thou movest
Is itself with mercy lined,
And the brightest gleam of the upper stream
Shall be caught from the days behind.

0 Father of light and leading,
From the top of each rising bill
Let me cast my eye on the road gone by
To mark the steps of Thy will!
For the clouds that surround the present
Shall leave this heart resigned,
When the joy appears in the path of tears
That led through the days behind.

God's will is better seen in retrospect than in prospect, or so it seems to me. It's by casting our "eye on the road gone by" that we most clearly "mark the steps of (his) will."

God has an itinerary for each of us, I believe; a "course" that we must run.[1] Our route is charted in the councils of heaven and rooted in the sovereign purposes of God. Yet our choices are not irrelevant. We make decisions every day, large and small, many of which have life-altering consequences. The question then-forgoing the confounding mystery of God's sovereignty and human free will-is this: How can we, in our choices, correctly reflect his will?

The answer is clear to me, now that I'm older and have more of the past to see. It is by looking back that I see my Father's guiding love. I may not have seen it in process, but I see it now: Love and Wisdom have led me all the way.

So...though clouds "surround the present" and much uncertainty lies ahead, my heart is duly resigned. The "Father of light and leading" will be faithful to show me the way. My task is to follow Him in love and obedience, and leave the next step to Him.

And how will I know the next step? I do not know. I do know, however, that I shall know it when I need to know. "My light shall be from the things that are stored above." On what basis do I make that assertion? By "dwelling on the days behind."


[1] Cp., Acts 20:24 and 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul's word, dromon, means "a race course."

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