The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all—Psa. 34: 18, 19.
A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again—Prov. 24: 16.
If at any time we find we have taken a wrong course which is irretrievable, we may expect it to bring the disappointments, as the Lord has foretold; but He may permit it to bring, as well, some blessings in the way of contrition of heart, and humility toward the Lord, and greater zeal, watchfulness and faithfulness for the future. Thus even some of the blunders of life may become stepping-stones to higher planes of grace and truth.
* * *
Failures should never be permitted to discourage us. While they give evidence of weakness, against which we must be on our guard, they also bring us instruction and correction highly useful to us. In spite of them the Lord gives comfort to our hearts, assuring us of His sympathy, His forgiveness and His help in every time of need. We should rise from them as quickly as possible, and, undaunted, go forward in the Lord's name.
Parallel passages: Deut. 4: 29-31; Job 22: 29; Psa. 51: 17; 95: 7, 8; 147: 3; Prov. 1: 23; 28: 13, 14; Isa. 57: 15; 61: 1-3; Hos. 14: 1, 2; Jonah 2: 4-9; Mic. 7: 19; Luke 18: 10-14; John 6: 37; 15: 7, 17-24; Jas. 4: 8; 1John 1: 9.
Questions: Have I stumbled and failed this week? What has my heart's attitude been amid such experiences? How did the Lord manifest His corrections, sympathy and help?
STUMBLING STONES OR STEPPING STONES?
I HAVE been sorely tried, dear Lord, been sorely
The sun hath veiled his brightness, and a cloud hangs
o'er my way;
Why is my heart so heavy, and the daylight cold
I've tried to please Thee, I have striven to faithful be
I've sought for heavenly wisdom in the thing that I
Yet I've been "put to grief"; and oh, can I have
grieved Thee, too?
A fellow-pilgrim on the road a wound hath given
Its sting and smart I keenly feel—its need I can
Stumbling stone or stepping stone, O Lord, which
shall it be?
A sorrow came to me today—a grief so dense and
The shades of deepest darkness about my heartstrings
The tears have flowed unceasing, till no power is left
I bow beneath my weight of woe, speechless and
stunned; my heart
Sinks down like lead within my breast; its bitter ache
Seem almost more than I can bear. A sharp and
Hath pierced me, and I prostrate lie. O Father,
speak to me!
Thy hand lies hard upon me; can this trial come from
Stepping stone or stumbling stone, which shall this
* * *
A blessing came this day to me, a joy surpassing
A glad way opens up to me, wherein my willing
Turn joyfully; how blest I am within this dear
My way had dark and lonely been for many a weary
My Lord hath brought this gift to me when all was
sad and drear;
Now, where my path was bleak, the flowers of love
and bliss appear.
And, yet, dear Lord, this blessing which Thy love
hath given to me
May fill my heart too fully, and may wean my soul
Then, stepping stone or stumbling stone, my God,
which shall it be?
Momentous question! on its answer my eternal joy
Hangs trembling; shall I be refined as gold without
These woes and blessings potent are to save or to
The time flies on! the "harvest" wanes, the glorious
end is near!
O Master, shall I lose e'en now the "prize" I hold
Shall woes or joys of life have power to dull my lis
Shall I be lured by siren song, while strains of heaven
On ears attuned? Oh, guide me, Lord, and keep me
May I rejoice to walk with Thee, and suffer for Thy
But I am weak; O Master, dear, do thou my spirit
Grant me thy grace, and strength impart to do Thy
And in affliction or in joy obey and love Thee still.
Almighty Lord, to thee I fly—no other help I know;
Oh, aid me in my need, I pray, and make my heart
With holy fire, and on me, Lord, Thy precious love
I hear Thee speak, I will obey, I stretch my hands
In every providence of Thine, Thy changeless love
And stepping stones to heavenly heights each pain
And joy shall be.
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