King George VI at the end of his 1939 Christmas broadcast during those early days of World War II quoted the first verse from Minnie Louise Haskin’s (1875-1957) poignant poem – ‘God Knows’:
'And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year;
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”'
The king concluded his broadcast by saying: "And May that almighty hand guide and uphold us all."
That is the greatest thing any of us could do and experience. Not in some romantic way, but in reality. Knowing God personally and living by faith in Him is not a crutch for weak minded people, but a comfort and source of hope in the midst of life’s uncertainty.
The other verses to 'God knows' are also very powerful:
So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.
By Nebo’s lonely mountain,
On this side Jordan’s wave,
In a vale in the land of Moab,
There lies a lonely grave;
But no man built that sepulchre,
And no man saw it e’er;
For the angels of God upturned the sod,
And laid the dead man there.
That was the grandest funeral
That ever passed on earth;
Yet no man heard the trampling
Or saw the train go forth:
Noiselessly as the daylight
Comes when the night is done,
And the crimson streak on ocean’s cheek
Grows into the great sun,
Noiselessly as the spring-time
Her crown of verdure weaves,
And all the trees on all the hills
Unfold their thousand leaves:
So without sound of music
Or voice of them that wept,
Silently down from the mountain’s crown
The great procession swept.
Perchance the bald old eagle
On grey Beth-Peor’s height
Out of his rocky eyrie
Looked on the wondrous sight;
Perchance the lion stalking
Still shuns the hallowed spot;
For beast and bird have seen and heard
That which man knoweth not.
But when the warrior dieth,
His comrades of the war,
With arms reversed and muffled drums,
Follow the funeral car;
They show the banners taken,
They tell the battles won,
And after him lead his masterless steed,
While peals the minute-gun.
Amid the noblest of the land
Men lay the sage to rest,
And give the bard an honored place,
With costly marbles drest,
In the great minster transcept
Where lights like glories fall,
And the sweet choir sings, and the organ rings
Along the emblazoned hall.
This was the bravest warrior
That ever buckled a sword;
This the most gifted poet
That ever breathed a word;
And never earth’s philospher
Traced with his golden pen
On deathless page truths half so sage
As he wrote down for me.
And had he not high honor?
The hillside for his pall!
To lie in state while angels wait
With stars for tapers tall!
And the dark rock pines like tossing plumes
Over his bier to wave,
And God’s own hand, in that lonely land,
To lay him in his grave!—
In that deep, deep grave without a name,
Whence his uncoffined clay
Shall break again—O wondrous thought!—
Before the Judgment Day,
And stand, with glory wrapped around,
On the hills he never trod,
And speak of the strife that won our life
With the incarnate Son of God.
Oh lonely tomb in Moab’s land!
Oh dark Beth-Peor’s hill!
Speak to these curious hearts of ours
And teach them to be still;
God hath His mysteries of grace,
Ways that we cannot tell;
He hides them deep, like the secret sleep
Of him He loved so well.
Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895)
The late Dr Adrian Rogers of Bellevue Baptist Church Memphis Tennessee in a sermon on 1 John 3 vs 1-13 entitled When We All Get to Heaven shared this powerful story told by one of his predecessors Dr. Robert G. Lee:
"Dr. Lee said that, one day when he was a boy on the farm and everybody else had gone to town, he was there on the front porch with his mother and he said his mother was doing some crocheting or knitting. Dr. Lee said, I was a little boy, I was down on the floor, she was out on the porch of the old farm house. He said I was down on the floor, I had my chin in my hands, my heels sticking up in the air. And I asked my mother, Mother, what was the happiest day of your life? I looked up at her worn hands as she was doing that work and she said something I didn't expect for her to say. I thought maybe she would say it was the time when my father, a tall man, six feet tall with dark eyes, expressed his love for her, but she didn't say that was the happiest day of her life. Then he said, I thought it might have been that time out by the gate of that farm, it was such a poor farm, you could hardly raise an umbrella on it, much less a mortgage. He said, I thought maybe it was the time out there when, when he asked her to marry him, but she didn't mention that. He said, I thought well maybe it was that time when in the little farmhouse there on the corner of that farm where they said, took their holy vows, vows that they kept for fifty years before he was taken on, but she didn't mention that. She said, Son, I believe the happiest time of my life was this. She said, you know, we lived back, when I was a little girl, in the days of the Civil War. And all the men had gone off to war and the women had to stay there and work on the fields and I saw my mother work out there alongside the other women in the fields. We had very little. We got our salt from the smokehouse floor. We made tea from sassafras. We made something like coffee from dried corn and then the word came that your grandfather Bennett had been killed in the Civil War. Dr. Lee's mother said, I watched my mother, said she didn't seem to cry much in the day, but at nighttime when I was a little girl I could hear her in the next room as she was sobbing out her heart to God. She said, You asked me about the happiest day of my life. I'll tell you about it. After we had learned that and heard that your grandfather had been killed in the war, my mother was sitting on the porch, very much like we are, and she was snapping beans and she saw a man coming down the road and she said, I declare, Elizabeth, look at that man! He looks like your daddy, he looks like your father, and I said, Now mother, don't be sad. You know daddy is gone. But then that man came and began to walk across a little patch of cotton and she threw those beans in the air and she said, Elizabeth, that's your daddy! And she ran across that field and there he stood. He had an empty sleeve, he was missing an arm, and they embraced and he reached out with that other arm and pulled her in close. She said, I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me, hugged my daddy's knees, ran my hand up that empty sleeve and felt that funny little arm. And she said, Son, that was the happiest day of my life. Then Dr. Lee said this, he said that day will pale into insignificance to the day when we see Him, when Jesus comes, and our eyes behold the king and the one who opened to us the doors of grace will open to us the doors of glory. What a day that will be when our Savior comes."
The following extract is from chapter XV of a book entitled, Our Christian Heritage by James Cardinal Gibbons (1834-1921). Chapter XV bears the title – ‘The Divinity of Jesus Christ, Attested by Himself and His Disciples.’
Even infidels are unanimous in extolling the moral perfections of Christ. But on due reflection they will find their position untenable, and will be compelled to the alternative of confessing His divinity, or of acknowledging that He was not even an honest man. His words evidently left the impression on the minds of the multitude that He claimed to be God. He was conscious of this impression, yet He said naught to remove it. On the contrary he accepted the homage of their adoration. If Christ therefore were not a divine Being, He would be guilty of an unpardonable assumption and impiety in usurping divine honors. He would be an untruthful man, nay an arch-hypocrite and imposter; or at least he would be an extravagant, self-deluded enthusiast, a character never ascribed to Him by His most relentless opponents. There is no middle ground to stand upon. We must either deny His moral excellence or declare His divinity.
The first Napoleon was not a theologian; but he was a great man, and a profound observer, whose vast experience had enabled him to judge what forces were necessary to produce lasting effect on mankind. When chained to the rock of St Helena, he had ample leisure to measure the greatness of men and to estimate them according to their true value. One day in conversation with Montholon, he put this question to him: “Who was Jesus Christ?” Montholon having declined to answer, Napoleon proceeded: “I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself have founded great empires. But our empires were founded on force. Jesus alone founded His empire on love, and to this day millions would die for Him. I think I understand something of human nature, and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man. Jesus Christ was more than man. I have inspired multitudes with a devotion so enthusiastic they would have died for me. But to do this it was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, my voice. Who cares for me now removed as I am from the active scenes of life, and from the presence of men? Who would now die for me? Christ alone across the chasm of eighteen centuries makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy. He asks more than a father can demand of his child, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart. He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally, and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man with all its powers and faculties becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame. This is what strikes me most. This is what proves to me quite convincingly that Jesus Christ is God.”
"It means" said Aslan, "that though the witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treason was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis.
It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
'It is a glorious phrase of the New Testament, that ‘he led captivity captive.' The very triumphs of His foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to subserve his end, not theirs. They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet. They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne. They flung him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King of Glory come in. They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy. They thought they had defeated God with His back the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down. He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it. He led captivity captive.'
The Strong Name, James Stewart
The Historical & Experimental Foundations of the Christian Faith
The apostles of the Lord Jesus were particularly careful to stress and unequivocally state the historical and experimental foundations of the Christian faith. The gospel they preached and the person they presented did not belong to the category of myths so prevalent in the cultures of the ancient world. Writing his second epistle, Peter reaffirms the factuality of what he had previously shared about the kingdom glory of the Lord Jesus: ‘We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty’ (2 Peter 1:16). In other words - we didn’t invent the story. Also, John writing about the apostles’ personal knowledge and experience of Jesus states: ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life —the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us’ (1 John 1:1-2). John confirms the reality of His person - He was physically and tangibly real, not imaginary.
The circumstances and events foundational to Christianity happened in real time involving real people being demonstrated by real evidence and verified by real witnesses. Yes, these events, such as the miracles of Jesus and His resurrection, were the work of God not men, but that doesn’t make them imaginary, rather it proves the reality of God present in history. Sadly, though, history and evidence regarding these things doesn’t seem to matter to a modern mindset. You just dismiss it all as nonsense and lies for there is simply no place for God in a secular and material view of the world.
‘Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding’ (Proverbs 23:23) is sage advice in any and every generation.