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The Beauty of Every Day: Chapter 18 - The Remembers

By J.R. Miller

      One of the secrets of a happy life is the memory of past favor and good. Some people forget the pleasures and kindnesses that made yesterday glad; and today, when there are only unpleasant things, they are overwhelmed and cannot find one thing to make them happy. But if we remember how bright last night's stars were; tonight, when not a star can be seen, ought not to dismay us.

      If we all would keep in our hearts the "remembers," the memory of the beautiful things, the cheering things, the happy things that come to us in our bright, pleasant days--we would never have a day of unrelieved gloom.

      The weather is the cause of a great deal of unhappiness. A cloudy or rainy day makes a great many people wretched. You go out on a dripping morning in a mood like the weather, and nearly everybody you meet will greet you with a complaint about the miserable day. The trouble with many people is that the gloom of the weather gets into their hearts and darkens their eyes and makes them unhappy. Ofttimes whole days are altogether spoiled for them in this way.

      Today may be gloomy--but remember what bright sunshine you had yesterday. There are few people who do not have many such remembers in the story of their lives, if only they would recall them in the days when they are discouraged; and if only they would recall them, their gloom would be lightened.

      The Bible is full of exhortations to remember: "You shall remember all the way which Jehovah your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness." "Remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life." "But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High."

      The memory of past goodness should shine in the present darkness, however deep and dense it is. Once you were in great perplexity. You seemed hopelessly shut in. You could see nothing but danger and loss. Then in a marvelous way, God led you out into a large place. In your present gloom and fear, whatever it is, remember this former deliverance. Yesterday's mercy ought to be a guarantee for mercy today. Yesterday's kindness should keep our hearts warm in spite of today's hardness.

      "I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." Those were glorious years. They were full of sunshine. They were full of love. There were no troubles then. Everything was bright. The air was full of bird songs. The paths were strewn with flowers. All was prosperous. Now all is changed. The birds are not singing today. The flowers have faded. The friends are gone. Prosperity has given way to adversity.

      But have you forgotten the past? Ought not the memory of the goodness of other blessed days, to shine through the clouds of today and to touch them with glory? "I will remember the beautiful years that are gone, and remembering them will bring them back again."

      Why are we so fickle in our faith and gladness? We are on the mountain-top one hour--and next hour we are away down in the dim valley. We have all the great and essential elements of happiness on a dark, rainy day--that we had on the bright day a week ago. We have God, we have hope, we have love. Why should we let a little drizzle, a gust of wind, and a flurry of sleet darken our mood and make all things seem hopeless for us? Why should one dreary day make us forget whole weeks of bright sunshine and fragrant air? Ought not the 'remembers' to save us from such gloomy feelings?

      If today is gloomy and cheerless, remember the past days that were glorious in their brightness. Let their splendor strike through today's clouds. In the old Psalm we read, "This is the day which Jehovah has made." This is true of every day--not only of the sparkling days of June, so marvelous in their splendor--but just as really of the somber days of November and the wintry days of January. The aspect of the dreary days is only a thin veil, behind which always are blue heavens, glorious sunshine. God made the days, and he made every one of them beautiful. If today is dark and misty, it has divine beauty in it nevertheless. If things seen adverse, God is still God, our Father, still love, and nothing is really going wrong. "God's in his heaven--all's right with the world!"

      Even Luther, heroic as he was in his faith, sometimes lost confidence in the long and hard struggle of the Reformation. Once it is said he seemed to have given up utterly, and was almost in despair. No one could revive his hope. In the morning his wife came down to breakfast in deep mourning. Luther noticed her garb and in alarm asked, "What is wrong? Who is dead?" "Why, don't you know? Didn't you hear it? God is dead." Luther rebuked her for her words in saying that God was dead. God could not die. Then she told him that God must be dead or he would not have become so hopeless. Her reply brought back to the great reformer the old trust.

      We sometimes need to be reminded that God is not dead. He lives, he always lives; he loves, he always loves. The fluctuations in our experience, are not fluctuations in the divine interest and care. "I, Jehovah, change not," is an Old Testament assurance. Then in the New Testament we have it thus: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever!" This faith in the unchanging God should bridge over all the chasms of earthly trial, and keep ever in our hearts a joyous trust.

      There are many people who find their trouble not in the actual experiences of today, which may be kindly--but in dreading tomorrow, which may bring gloom or disaster. All is well now--but they see a dark stream just before them, and they fear its floods. But the memories of the past in which goodness has never failed, should teach us never to be anxious about any tomorrow.

      Count your blessings! Do not forget the multitude of your benefits in the recollection of the few disappointments and discomforts you have had. Let the many joyous remembers blot out the marks of the lines that stand black in the record. Even your sorrows are seed-plots of blessing. When you get to heaven and look back, you will see that the days which now appear draped in mourning--have been your best days--the fullest of good.

      Where the plough has cut deepest, tearing up your garden of happiness and destroying the flowers of gladness, you will find loveliness a thousand times more wonderful. God never destroys--he only and always fulfills. Out of sadness--he brings light. Out of pain--he brings health. Out of disappointments--he brings appointments of good. Every year is a harvest growing out of past years, each one better than the one left behind.

      One was speaking of a friendship that was wondrously sweet--but lamented that it was given only for a short while. A year after marriage--the loved one was gone. "I could almost have wished I had not had the friendship at all--it was so soon ended," grieved the lonely one. Say it not! It is blessed to love and be loved, though it be only for a day! It is sweet to have had your friend--if only for a few days, for then you will have the memory forever, and this remember will cast its soft radiance down over all the years to come.

      A good woman wrote that she had found the secret of getting joy out of every sorrow. When the grief comes and begins to seem more than she can bear, she goes out and finds some other one in suffering or need, and begins to minister, to comfort. Then her own grief or trouble is gone. Try it. It will prove true for you too. Put your pain or sorrow into some service of love--and it will be changed into a song.

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - While We May
   Chapter 2 - The Glory of the Common Life
   Chapter 3 - Seeds of Light
   Chapter 4 - He Calls Us Friends
   Chapter 5 - Not Counting God
   Chapter 6 - Perfection in Loving
   Chapter 7 - Shut Your Door
   Chapter 8 - Things That Hurt Life
   Chapter 9 - Getting Away from Our Past
   Chapter 10 - Thomas' Mistake
   Chapter 11 - Friends and Friendship
   Chapter 12 - The Yoke and the School
   Chapter 13 - The Weak Brother
   Chapter 14 - The Lure of the Ministry
   Chapter 15 - Narrow Lives
   Chapter 16 - The True Enlarging of Life
   Chapter 17 - Through the Year with God
   Chapter 18 - The Remembers
   Chapter 19 - Caring for the Broken Things


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