He that goeth forth and weepeth. It is his tears that cause him to go forth. It is his sorrow that will not let him rest. True pity is a mighty motive. When the real abiding pathos of life has gripped a man’s heart, you will find him afield doing the work of the Lord. You will not see his tears. There will be a smile in his eyes and, maybe, a song on his lips. For the sorrow and the joy of service dwell side by side in a man’s life. Indeed, they often seem to him to be but one thing. It were a mistake to refer the whole meaning of the words about a man’s coming ’again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him’ to some far day when the reapers of God shall gather the last great harvest of the world. Through his tears the sower sees the harvest. Through all his life there rings many a sweet prophetic echo of the harvest home.
He that goeth forth and weepeth. No man ever wept like that and went not forth, but some go forth who have not wept. And they go forth to certain failure. They mishandle life, and with good intent do harm. But that is not the worst thing to be said about these toilers without tears. It is not that they touch life so unskilfully, but they touch so little of it. It is only through his tears that a man sees what his work is and where it lies. Tearless eyes are purblind. We have yet much to learn about the real needs of the world. So many try very earnestly to deal with situations they have never yet really seen. For the uplifting of men and for the great social task of this our day we need ideas, and enthusiasm, and all sorts of resource; but most of all, and first of all, we need vision. And the man who goes farthest, and sees most, and does most, is ’he that goeth forth and weepeth.’
DELIVERANCE WITH HONOUR
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer
I will be with him in trouble:
I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.
Ps. xci. 15, 16.
He shall call upon Me. He shall need Me. He shall not be able to live without Me. As the years pass over his head he shall learn that there is one need woven into human life larger and deeper and more abiding than any other need—and that need is God. Thus doth divinity prophesy concerning humanity. Thus doth infinite foresight predict a man’s need.
We peer in our purblind fashion into the future and try to anticipate our needs. We fence ourselves in with all sorts of fancied securities, and then we comfort ourselves with the shrewdness and completeness of our forecasting and provision-making. And sometimes it is just folly with a grave face. ‘He shall call upon Me.’ A man has learned nothing until he has learned that he needs God. And we take a long time over that lesson. It has sometimes to be beaten into us—written in conscience and heart by the finger of pain. How the little storehouse of life has to be almost stripped of its treasures, how our faith in the things of the hour has to be played with and mocked, ere we call upon God in heaven to fill us with abiding treasure and fold us in eternal love.