“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Jer. 10:23
For quite some time it has been haunting my mind to write again. I hope I am not deceived. I have had many endorsements on my article in August Signs. Yesterday morning as my attendant placed me into the bath tub it struck my mind as quick as lightning, the eternal and absolute fixedness of all things. My mind kept going until I had finished the whole routine through the bath house. It seems if I could then have had my pen I could have written much better than now. Yet I might not and may not be able to write at all. If God will lead my mind along I can think of no better text than Jer. 10:23. I have my own way and manner and I have to write as it comes. I have to take life as it comes.
We hear God talking to Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” God did not have to wait until Jeremiah was born, grown up and tried out, to see if he would fit into his program. I take the position that all the events of time unfold or bring into manifestation that that God purposed (fixed) before the morning of time. I have heard it preached, written and boasted from my earliest recollection that God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. This means God hath all power, is everywhere and knoweth all things. We hear God saying, “As I have purposed, so shall it stand.” On the night of the ninth of April last year (1946) my wife and I retired as usual, talked and planned our next day’s activities. In about ten minutes after we ceased to talk she called for her medicine and was dead in thirty minutes. If I could have had my way I would have had it otherwise. How helpless, how helpless was poor me, how helpless! I had to take it. It was God’s appointed time, already fixed and all the powers of heaven, hell and earth could not unfix it. It was not only God’s appointed time for her to go, but it was the fixed way and place. How can we believe the three attributes of God mentioned above and not believe this?
Once we set some plants in the churchyard. After father had taken a look at them he told mother those plants would not shade him. He had a premonition that he must soon go the way of all the earth, and he did. It has come to my mind to mention myself. I have never had a premonition that my time was near at hand. On the other hand if I have had any premonition it is that I have quite a long time yet, but please remember it is all fixed. Not long ago I had a vision. (I do not think it was a dream.) In my vision I looked toward the West. It was the most beautiful scene my eyes ever beheld, no cloud, no sky. The elements were seemingly closed, a mixture of silver and gold, the sun was bright as silver. When I came to myself I exclaimed, “How wonderful, how wonderful!” And how wonderful is God. There is no God but the living God, our God. My hope is anchored that I can say, my God, yes, my Father. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11. The thought came to me that the distance from the sun to the western horizon is the remainder of my journey here in this world in the ratio of twelve hours. I do not know how it will be. It is all fixed. If this be true I have fifteen or twenty years yet. But I do get so tired of my nothingness, my sinning, until I wish I could clip the cord that holds me here and go home, and as we used to sing, “Sit down and rest a little while.”
As tired as I get of my sinning and as much as I wish I could quit it, I am comforted with this thought that I will not sin any more than God is able to overrule and bring order out of chaos. “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” Jer. 17:14. After Nathan, the prophet, had come unto David and after grace had found him out he could acclaim, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalms 51:7. David had in mind the perfect work of redemption. Jesus did not say to those disciples, clean the fish you have caught, fry them and give me some to eat. “As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.” John 21:9. Peter had said before, “I will never forsake thee.” Peter wanted to help the Lord, but the Master taught Peter, I am taking care of myself and you, too, Peter. Fish and bread already prepared! Who did it? The answer is Jesus. The great draught of fishes we have caught is worth nothing. This brings our mind to the thought that when we think we are helping the Lord grace shines in our soul until we can acclaim, “I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” The neighbors and cousins gathered in to rejoice with Elizabeth. They said we will name him Zacharias after his father. Elizabeth said, “He shall be called John.” It is so common after the flesh to perpetuate family names. The neighbors and kindred contended it will not do to name him John because there is not a John in the family. Somebody must settle the contention. “And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all,” Luke 1:63. After the manner of the flesh we would say Zacharias had a desire to agree with Elizabeth. The truth is he was named John before the foundation of the world, before the morning of time. This is another instance of what God had fixed and cannot be unfixed. “His name is John.” Already named. Before I began to write I thought of some things I thought I would write. I have written some things I did not think of until I began to write. My mind seems to snap. Time to quit.
(Elder) C. H. BYRD
Route 2, Box 89, Panama City, Fla.
Signs of the Times
Vol. 116, No.2 - February 1948