In Harbour - by JB Stoney



You will have completed another year in the wilderness when this reaches you. . . . You have had a suffering time. I picture you to myself a ship moored in harbour. You are not yet on shore, though near enough to see it, like Moses from Mount Pisgah. You are still exposed to storms and the surging of the waves, but not to the same extent as if you were at sea. At sea the ship is on service. You are moored in harbour, waiting for the summons, "Come away". The Lord keeps many a ship in harbour after a life at sea. Every ship, whether its cargo be gold or sand, has to endure the rough sea and the boisterous winds, and it is often years before the ship is hauled on shore or put out of commission. It is moored in harbour —a witness to many spectators of toils and dangers past. It has its own tale of mercy during its time at sea. You can recount a history of manifold mercies, through many rough seas and contrary winds. Now you are in harbour swinging your cable—your bond to Christ, the anchor of your soul, both sure and steadfast, and entering within the veil. The winds and the waves are still fierce enough to strain the timbers of the outer man; but this is to deepen in your soul the consciousness of the inner man.

It is a blessed experience when the sufferings of the body can be met with the cheerfulness of the new being, and though it be checked in its expression by the pressure on the outer man, yet it learns, in contrast, how entirely free from suffering and sickness the inner man is. I am sure it is an immense gain to be conscious of this. It is true there may be a weight on the spirit because of the suffering body, but even then the inner strength may be proved. When there is an unruffled sea, the ship floats along gracefully; but when the storm comes, its strength is proved. I am afraid there is often too much effort to alleviate the sufferings of the body. I do not say that we are not to do so, but promoting the vigour and joy of the inner man would tend in an amazing way to effect this. While we look not on the things that are seen, for they are temporary, but on the things unseen, for they are eternal. You must fix your eyes on the shore, and as the delights there come before your soul, the inner man is renewed day by day. Thus Moses was consoled in spirit, though his heart was sad, as he strained his eyes over the land of Canaan.

The Lord keep you, dear              , learning how the light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory—while you look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are unseen. This is the one grand recipe. May you abundantly know the virtue of it, and while you are in harbour be a witness of the grace which has brought you safely so near the shore, and has given you mile-marks all along your course, Ebenezers of His unfailing care and mercy through many a dreary day and stormy night.