“Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”—1 SAMUEL 7:12.
It was a lovely Sabbath afternoon, still and bright; Elsie sat alone on the veranda, enjoying the beauty of the sea and the delicious breeze coming from it. She had been reading, and the book lay in her lap, one hand resting upon the open page; but she was deep in meditation, her eyes following the restless movements of the waves that, with the rising tide, dashed higher and higher upon the beach below.
For the last half hour she had been the solitary tenant of the veranda, while the others enjoyed their siesta or a lounge upon the beach.
Presently a noiseless step drew near her chair, some one bent down over her and softly kissed her cheek.
“Papa” she said, looking up into his face with smiling eyes, “you have come to sit with me? Let me give you this chair,” and she would have risen to do so, but he laid his hand on her shoulder, saying, “No; sit still; I will take this,” drawing up another and seating himself therein close at her side.
“Do you know that I have been watching you from the doorway there for the last five minutes?” he asked.
“No, sir; I deemed myself quite alone,” she said. “Why did you not let me know that my dear father, whose society I prize so highly, was so near?”
“Because you seemed so deep in thought, and evidently such happy thought, that I was loath to disturb it.”
“Yes,” she said, “they were happy thoughts. I have seemed to myself, for the last few days, to be in the very land of Beulah, so delightful has been the sure hope—I may say certainty—that Jesus is mine and I am His; that I am His servant forever, for time and for eternity, as truly and entirely His as words can express. Is it not a sweet thought, papa? is it not untold bliss to know that we may—that we shall serve Him forever? that nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ?”
“It is, indeed—Christ who is our life. He says, ’Because I live, ye shall live also;’ thus He is our life. Is He not our life also because He is the dearest of all friends to us—His own people?”
“Yes; and how the thought of His love, His perfect sympathy, His infinite power to help and to save, gives strength and courage to face the unknown future. ’The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ ‘Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.’
“In view of the many dangers that lie around our every path, the many terrible trials that may be sent to any one of us, I often wonder how those who do not trust in this almighty Friend can have the least real, true happiness. Were it my case, I should be devoured with anxiety and fears for myself and my dear ones.”
“But as it is,” her father said, gazing tenderly upon her, “you are able to leave the future, for them and for yourself, in His kind, wise, all-powerful hands, knowing that nothing can befall you without His will, and that He will send no trial that shall not be for your good, and none that He will not give you strength to endure?”