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[Untitled, by Rev. Wm. Graham, pastor. from the March 1944 issue of Songs in the Night, the newsletter of the Village Church of Western Springs, Illinois]
HAVE you ever stood on the street and watched the people go by? I know you
have. I have. I did it again the other day. I saw them from every walk of life,
I might have seen you. More than ever now I’m interested in man. My special
field of study has been anthropology, the study of man. I try to look through
the faces of - men into the hearts and lives of men. I try to imagine what they
are thinking or what burdens they are carrying; or perhaps their problems and
I saw a young man in the uniform of our great navy. Perhaps he would soon be
on some strange shore in a distant land. Homesickness would cause tears at night
when no one else could see, although the brave smile by day, would hide the
anxiety and burden of his heart.
I saw an older man in a neatly pressed khaki uniform with a silver eagle on
each shoulder. He passed with a firm step and a grimly set jaw; yet I could
read behind his strong face, a heart filled with uncertainty and anxiety.
I noticed in particular a carefree young college student. I wondered if here
was one without the burden and load that this life seems to have for everyone,
regardless of race or clime. However as I read his face more carefully I saw
that he was no exception for he seemed bewildered over the host of new philosophies
and theories he was learning, and the realities of life in the time of global
war were beginning to dawn upon him. The theories and realities were beginning
to clash, and he was puzzled as to what it all meant.
Another man caught my attention. He appeared to be a successful business man
in the early fifties. On his face I read the problems of business; the strain
of double duty in war time. Uncertainty and fear for the future appeared written
in every line of his face.
A shop girl came next. She seemed to he tired and worn from the days work.
Her thoughts seemed to be far away. Perhaps to a sweetheart on a distant battle
front who she may never see again. She appeared to be longing for something
to rest in, or for someone to assure her that all was well.
Worries! Burdens! Problems! Fear! Dread of what the next hour might bring.
It seems that all men of every land and every race are cursed with them. Is
there no relief? Is there no rest? Is there no way out? You have longed for
satisfaction but you have found none that would last. You have sought for true
joy and happiness but have only found misery and heartache. Job was right when
he said, “Man is born unto trouble as sparks fly upward.”
A woman asked me the other day, “Why must men continue to suffer?
Why must men wrestle with the same age old problems from generation to generation?
Why must we always carry heavy hearts filled with uncertainty and anxiety? Why
must men struggle through life only to lie down and die in the end?” Perhaps
these same questions are on your mind tonight. Our only logical answer is found
in the world’s best seller, the book that soldiers on the battle front
call THE BOOK; The Bible which is the Word of the Living God.
According to the teaching of God’s Word, troubles, burdens, sorrows,
heartaches, fear, uncertainty, all have their root directly or indirectly in
sin. The first man Adam ate the forbidden fruit and sinned. From that time on
every man of every race has been born in sin. The Bible declares “that
all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Sin is the universal
difficulty of man and of God. It is in every home; it is in every heart; it
is in every life. It separates men from God; as we read in Isa. 59:2, “For
your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid
his face from you.” Sin puts a crevice, a river, an impassable ocean between
God and man. Sin enslaves man; enslaves his appetites; his conscience; his thoughts;
his ambitions; his affections. Sin ties man in unbreakable chains that bind
tighter and tighter each passing day. Sin causes death; for the Bible declares
that “The wages of sin is death.” It is death to character, death
to reputation; death to love; death to ambition; death to influence;
death to mind; death to body; and finally death to man’s eternal soul.
Surely the poet was more than justified when he wrote:
“There is not one evil that sin has not brought me
There is not one good that has come in its train
It has cursed me through life, and its sorrows have sought me
Each step of the way through want, sickness and pain.
And then, when this life, of affliction is ended
What a home for my soul did it prepare
The gaze of Him whom my sins have offended
And the night, the dark night of eternal despair.”
You ask me: Is there no way to get rid of this root of all trouble? I’m
glad to answer you, Yes. There is a way, but only one way. Let us turn to that
glorious verse in the Bible, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that
He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish
but have everlasting life.” Someone has called this verse of scripture
a miniature Bible, others have called it the Gospel in a nut shell. Indeed it
is the heart throb of a loving God for an erring creation. You remember when
you learned it, at your mother’s knee or in the Sunday School as a child.
All tongues are mute at its majesty. To exhaust its fullness in a single message,
would be like trying to gather all the music of all the ages to express adequately
in one grand string ensemble. For the initial and final notes of this precious
sentence form the chord of eternity. That these words should expose the heart
of God, makes them even more sublime. As we try to plumb the depths of this
heart throb , from heaven, we are blinded by its brilliance and stirred by Its
‘splendor and simplicity. We are paled before its perfection; awed by
its eternity; delivered by its deity; cleansed by its Calvary; and won by its
No one knows the depths of sorrow through which your feet are dragging tonight,
but God knows; and His love can reach down into the aching void of your heart
and set the music of life ringing and re-echoing in your soul. And by the blood
of His only begotten Son whom he gave as a ransom for us all, you tonight can
have your sins washed away and eternally forgiven; you may have joy, peace,
satisfaction by accepting and believing on Him who died that you might live.
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh
unto the Father but by me.” The Scripture declares that though your sins
be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson
they shall be as wool.”
General William Dobbie who until a few weeks ago was commander in chief of
the most bombed place on earth, the island of Malta, expressed it when he wrote,
and I quote:
“I cannot attempt to describe what I owe to the Lord Jesus Christ, nor
what He has meant to me throughout my army career (and longer). The knowledge
that it is to Him that I owe my eternal salvation has given me a peace which
nothing has been able to disturb, while the companionship and help which He
has consistently been ready to give me, have been very real and very wonderful.
“I would like to bear witness that His help is a most practical and wonderful thing, and I could not contemplate life and its innumerable problems without it. It is a grand thing to be able to take all one’s problems to Him, since He promises to give wisdom and direction to those who ask Him. I do most humbly but earnestly commend Him as Saviour and Lord.”