The Supreme Thing

by William Mealand

THE supreme thing in life. How shall we define it? Is it not an abiding heart experience of conscious peace and deep content? But not as of natural temperament merely, but as above nature, in its steady flow in God.

     Few appear to attain such blessedness, and yet, since Enoch walked with God it has been possible. And how great the privilege! To be so wakened in heart, mind, and will, and to be so stirred to the depths, as to ever afterwards live in a real awareness of God.

       God has met, and is always meeting, man. And for us men there has been the great meeting place, that wondrous bridging of the chasm whereby our sinless, worthy Lord, tasted death for all.

And from my smitten heart with tears,
   Two wonders I confess--
The wonder of His glorious love,
   And my own worthlessness.

     Sin's might and inevitable death was swept away by the mightier, immortal One. And so, God makes a way, an approach supreme. And because He has laid help on One Who is mighty, He lays His hand upon us. He brings us to a glorious place, celestial ground, "in Christ."

     He imbues us with spiritual resolve, somewhat akin to the Psalmist's when he said, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness!" How distinguishing an expression. "As for me!" The speaker is set apart as one of God's nobility. And with a motto of no mean order. One to live with indeed!

     See how Paul expresses it in his wish for Agrippa. "May I ever wish to God, even briefly and greatly, not only you, but also all who are hearing me today, to become a kind such as I am also, outside of these bonds!" (Acts 26:29).

     A great wish from a great lone soul. But then, Paul was living for the supreme thing. It was ever before him, moving him in thought, word, and deed. And shall we not wish to be the kind he was?

If we, with earnest effort, could succeed
   To make our life one long connected prayer,
   As lives of some perhaps have been and are,
If, never leaving Thee, we had no need
   Our wandering spirits back again to lead
   Into Thy presence, but continued there,
   Like angels standing on the highest stair
Of the sapphire throne, this were to pray indeed!
   But if distractions manifold prevail,
   And if in this we must confess we fall:
Grant us to keep at least a prompt desire,
   Continual readiness for prayer and praise.
An altar heaped and waiting to take fire
   With the least spark, and leap into a blaze.

     May such warmth of desire be ours! The heart in frame for speech or silence, realizing God as the strength of life. The living God, the present help. For our God is not, as Thomas Carlyle would have us think, "an absentee God, sitting idle at the outside of His universe and seeing it go." No, no. He is the caring, working God, ever intent on the issues of His great purpose and grand goal.

     He would fain be everything to everyone. Should He not be everything to us, here and now? The supreme thing is to find Him so, to wait on Him and to wait for Him in questions great and small.

     Dying man needs the living God. Needs Him daily, needs Him ever. The heart's cry is only satisfied with God. "My heart crieth out for the living God. My soul thirsteth for Thee!" And God answers the cry. He assuages the thirst. If need be, He can make us to stand alone, and to walk at liberty.

     Thus, with spirit unstifled by slogan and shibboleth, we are brought into touch with those silent workings of contagion and inspiration which come from fellowship with kindred minds.

     God's choice of us makes us members of an exalted order. A dignity, not of earth, is ours. The word, therefore, comes to us all: "Be what you are."

     Keeping rank, then, with such an order, we would think as God thinks. We would make His viewpoint ours. We would reap not only as we sow, but better still, where God has sown. We would live in, and for, the moment alone, seeing in them all His great directive care. We would stand still and see. Be still and know.

     So living, we shall realize that we are set for ideal things. Things true, dignified, just and pure. And not only shall we think upon them, but be putting them into practice. For God is in them all. And His love, His will, His Word, His spirit will be in continuous process for us.

     "Become, then, imitators of God, as beloved children, and be walking in love, according as Christ also loves you, and gives Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a fragrant odor" (Eph.5:1,2).

     A fragrant odor. The incense of a life of grace and truth. For God had given Him the tongue of the learned, that He should know how to speak a word in season to the weary. Morning by morning He wakened His ear to hear as the learned.

     He could therefore say, "According as My Father teaches Me, thus I am speaking." And His words were spirit and life. Even as ointment poured forth. And in the touch of His hand and the look of His eye there lay a compassionate grace, a noble dignity.

     May the character of such a life be a constant urge. It is the divine expression of the supreme thing. And He lives to inspire and empower. So will there rest in our hearts, as on our lips, the words of that set desire: "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake, with Thy likeness."

     When I awake. Morning by morning. For as sleep is an image of death, awaking is an image of resurrection. There is another day to behold His face. Another day to be satisfied with His likeness.

     "In the morning, O Lord, will I direct my prayer unto Thee and look up!"

Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
  When wake the birds, and all the shadows flee.
Fairer than morning, lovelier than the daylight,
  Dawns the great consciousness, I am with Thee!

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