There comes a time when we must ante up for the things we did to our bodies when they were young. After numerous surgeries on back, knees, shoulders and other parts of my anatomy I'm now facing radical back surgery, a procedure that will take four or five months out of my life. Benched, I said to myself. Set aside.
Then, this morning I opened a copy of Mrs. Cowman's devotional, Streams in the Desert, and read the entry for the day: January 22. (Actually, this is January 20, but I’m a bit addled these days.)
The devotional for the day contained John Ruskin's poem, "Called Aside."
From the glad working of your busy life,
From the world’s ceaseless stir of care and strife,
Into the shade and stillness by your Heavenly Guide
For a brief time you have been called aside.
Perhaps into a desert garden dim;
And yet not alone, when you have been with Him,
And heard His voice in sweetest accents say:
“Child, will you not with Me this still hour stay?”
In hidden paths with Christ your Lord to tread,
Deeper to drink at the sweet Fountainhead,
Closer in fellowship with Him to roam,
Nearer, perhaps, to feel your Heavenly Home.
Oh, knowledge deeper grows with Him alone;
In secret oft His deeper love is shown,
And learned in many an hour of dark distress
Some rare, sweet lesson of His tenderness.
We thank You for the stillness and the shade;
We thank You for the hidden paths Your love has made,
And, so that we have wept and watched with Thee,
We thank You for our dark Gethsemane.
O restful thought—He doeth all things well;
O blessed sense, with Christ alone to dwell;
So in the shadow of Your cross to hide,
We thank You, Lord, to have been called aside.
~ John Ruskin
Joy can come from the simplest and most attainable things, not the least of which is a new way of thinking: Not set aside. Called aside.