I have recently been reading a book by Amy Carmichael called Gold By Moonlight. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Amy Carmichael, you can read about her here. )
I have had this book for years and never picked it up until a few weeks ago, but since I have started reading it, I realize what a gem of a book it is! It was given to me by a dear older lady who I consider to be my spiritual grandmother, which makes the book even more special.
The first time I read the title, I was curious about the meaning of it.
But inside the front cover, Miss Carmichael gives the explanation. She wrote,
"In 1637, out of much trouble of mind, the Scottish minister Rutherford wrote to a friend:
'It is possible to gather gold, where it may be had, with moonlight.'
This book is written to any who are walking in difficult places and who care to gather that gold."
"Walking in difficult places"..that has been the story of my life the past few years. I won't go into detail here, but I will say that the Lord knew exactly when to nudge me toward reading this book - it was definitely His perfect timing. Any earlier and I would have given up trying to get into the book; it's not an easy read. In fact, I have picked up the book several times and tried to read it, but I just couldn't get interested in it. It had to be when I was ready for it. And the Lord knew that. I am so thankful for His perfect timing. :)
As I said earlier, this book is a gem. And it has been a great comfort and encouragement to me, second only to Scripture. I am only on page 31, but I have read enough to know that it's a treasure. It is chock-full of analogies, metaphors, and references to Scripture. I seriously can't say enough good things about it! I even splurged on a new Keeping journal to write down all the wonderful quotes that I want to remember. However, I am also doing lots of highlighting, underlining, and writing in the margins. :)
So, since it has been such a help to me, I will occasionally share some snippets here, hoping and praying that it will encourage others who are going through trials.
Prior to writing this book, photos of the Austrian Tyrol and the Bavarian Highlands were given to Miss Carmichael. As she looked at the photos, she says, they "fell into a kind of order, and became for me figures of the true, transparent, full of the sense of things. Then came the thought of others, and so this book."
The first chapter is entitled, The Sense of Things, and this is the accompanying photo..
My favorite passage in this chapter is: "Wrapped in the clouds and hidden by the mist is all that makes up life, its woods and ravines, its upland meadows where we go with much content, its hills called Difficulty, and its Delectable Mountains (reference to The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan): in brief, its greater and smaller joys and sorrows, its trials of faith, disciplines, batterings of soul and body; all that our Savior, in His story of the two builders, calls rain and flood and wind and the vehement beating of a stream.
There is no house of life out of reach of the stream. So, to be surprised when the rain descends and the floods come, and the winds blow and beat upon the house, as though some strange thing happened to us, is unreasonable and unjust; it also miscalls our good Master, Who never told us to build for fair weather, or even to be careful to build out of the reach of floods. 'We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God' is not a fair-weather word. 'My son, if thou comest to serve the Lord, prepare they soul for temptation.' 'Ye will not get leave to steal quietly to heaven, in Christ's company, without a conflict and a cross.'
Even so, even though we must walk in the land of fear, there is no need to fear. The power of His resurrection comes before the fellowship of His sufferings."
So friends, the storms will come; we should anticipate the pouring rains, the winds, and the floods since our Savior never told us to build out of the reach of these things. But we can take heart: He is with us, walking us through the storms of life. Looking back at the valleys I have been walking through (and I am not quite out of those valleys, yet), He was right there, even though He seemed so far away. He never left me or forsook me. As He promises in His Word,
"I will never leave you, not forsake you." ~Hebrews 13:5b