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What the Poplar Tree Said to Me

I was very weary, weary with a great soul weariness—a burden of worry and anxiety pressed hard upon my spirit—I was careful and troubled about many things. Was this course the right one? Was all well with me and mine? Such being a few of the vexing questions that crowded upon my soul and caused me at length, that hot summer day, to retire to the silence of my own private room and lay my throbbing head down, vainly trying to rest. Outside the sun was shining so brilliantly—but I had eyes to see; the songs of many birds filled the air—but I had no ears to hear; and there I lay in the midst of the sunshine and the music—a woman—burdened, and troubled, and worried. And as I lay, I almost fell asleep, when suddenly I was aroused by a strange sound. At first I thought l was dreaming, and that in my dream I was listening to the sound of falling Water, but I gradually I became aware of the delusion, and jumping up I looked through the window to discover the meaning of that strange, sweet sound. At the bottom of the garden stood a large old poplar tree, and a breeze had sprung up and was gently playing among its leaves, and there it stood in the sunshine, every leaf dancing and rustling against its fellow, and as they danced they caught the sunshine and glistened like ten thousand diamonds, while all the garden was filled with their sweet music. And as I looked and listened, a great message came to me. Every tiny leaf seemed to speak, and this is something of the message the poplar tree bore to me that day :—

"Why art thou lying there in the shadows when the sun is shining? Why art thou filled with sorrow and gloom, when all around thee is bright and joyous? Look at the flowers lifting their sweet faces to the sun. 'They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.' Listen to the birds singing, filling the air with music; their hearts are glad and happy, yet 'they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns'—'your Heavenly Father feedeth them.' Look at me, as I stand here, where I have stood full many a score of years; look at my leaves, myriads of them, dancing in the sunshine; a few, a very few, would have sufficed to cover my naked stems, but the All-Father—He that 'openeth His hand and supplieth the want of every living thing'—hath robed me in this bountiful dress, hath clothed me with thousands more leaves than I really required, and 'shall He not much more clothe thee, O thou of little faith!' When thou doubtest thus thou sinnest. Put away this anxiety and believe Him who assures thee it is the Father's good pleasure to give thee the kingdom. 'Know then the depth of the meaning of this, 'The Heavenly Father knoweth ye have need of these things,' and 'all these things shall be added unto thee.' Come out into the sunshine and look up and bless the God of Nature, our Father and thine."

And I went out into the sunshine, out from the shadows of doubt and care. I lifted my eyes to the deep blue heavens, and I listened to the songs of the birds. All nature teemed with plenty, joy, and gladness, and I alone, a child of God, had lain in the shadows and doubted. Oh, how could I? How blind have been mine eyes—how deaf mine ears—how hard mine heart! Father, forgive Thy child! I doubt no more. I cast aside all anxiety and worry. I will walk no more in the shadows. All is well. The peace which passeth all understanding filleth my soul, for, "seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," I know that "all these things shall be added." So—

Serene I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amidst the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Awake, asleep, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my barque astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it has sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own, and draw
The brook that springs in yonder heights;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delights.

The stars come nightly to the sky,
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

Until we cease to live for self, we have not begun to live at all.
—J. R. Miller
Seek not to weave an element of fear. Where there is absolute trust there cannot be fear.
—P. T. J.
A calm restful temper grows as self is learning to lose itself in God. Such grace tells gradually on the daily life;
even the minutest detail may be brought under the power of God, and carried out in union with him.
—Thomas Thellusson Carter

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Sweet Charity

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