O suffering saint!
(John MacDuff, "The Promised Land" 1859)
"And the days of your mourning shall be ended!" Isaiah 60:20
The present world is a valley of tears — a wilderness of woe. While passing through it, we are exposed to sorrows and sufferings of various kinds. Pain and disease beset us on every side; and many, in the extremity of their anguish, wish for death rather than life.
Here we are subject to innumerable troubles; our fondest hopes may be blasted, and we may be called to survey the wreck of all that we once possessed.
Here the dearest friends are snatched from each other's embrace! The ruthless spoiler respects neither rank nor age — he tears asunder the very heart-strings of our nature, and seems to delight in trampling upon the tenderest sympathies of the soul. The parent is called to weep over the remains of a much-loved child; the husband has to mourn the loss of the partner of his life; the lover and friend are cut off by a stroke — and the desire of our eyes is taken away.
From a thousand sources, do our present distresses spring; and the streams of sorrow, in all their sad variety, follow us, more or less, through the whole course of our earthly pilgrimage.
But in Heaven, all our troubles will be over! No sorrow will be there. All temporal and all spiritual evils will be entirely banished. No disappointment, no anxiety, will be there. No wearisome nights, no dismal moanings, no tossings to and fro until the dawning of the day — will be there. There will be no sickness to blast — and no death to devour there. There will be no Rachel weeping for her children, no broken-hearted father exclaiming, "O Absalom, my son, my son," there. There will be no separation from those we love there. There will be no faithless friends to wound our hearts and betray our confidence there. There will be no being vexed from day to day with the filthy lives of the wicked there. There will be . . .
no temptations there;
no fightings without — or fears within;
no hardness of heart — or stings of conscience;
no obscuring clouds, or contrary winds, or tossing waves, there.
No, nothing to grieve, nothing to cause a single sigh to rise from the bosom, or a single tear to fall from the eye — will be there.
But joy and peace will be there; and cheerful hearts and beaming countenances will be there; and the conqueror's song, and waving palms, and harps of gold, and robes of spotless white, will be there.
O suffering saint! Think much of what is there — it will help you to bear up and to press on under your load of sorrow here. It is only for a little while, that you will have to traverse this howling desert; and then, having passed the narrow stream of death — you shall know Heaven by happy experience! "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined — what God has prepared for those who love Him!"