Sep27WedRetrospective #18 September 27, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
Last week in Post #13 I shared a poem with the same name relative to my theme “The Barracks.” It was actually a description of the little hall belonging to my very first appointment (40 yrs. ago next June) Elliston, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. My first Sargent-Major was a very wise man by the name of Job. Job was a retired carpenter in his early seventies. I was a green Lieutenant only nineteen and a half years old. His was a very quiet manner and when he spoke he did so only after deep reflection. A dedicated local officer, he had seen the corps through good days and bad and I was arriving after a season when the tiny mission had closed and reopened once or twice. Unlike his biblical namesake Job had never suffered great loss but like the patriarch he was patient.
I’m sure he wondered how this novice, newly minted Officer would make out; a boy from a larger town and most recently of course, from the capital city; a lad who had known all the amenities of life who would now have to draw water from his neighbour’s well some distance down the lane; yes, a youngster with plenty of “book learning” but with soft hands. If indeed this were so, his words and demeanor betrayed none of it to me. He gave me his complete and full support and stood by me from the moment I arrived to the time I left one year later. I came to know almost instantly that he would stand for me and he would stand with me.
There was a handful of likeminded people (some younger, some older) who also stood for me and with me. The question was whether or not I would stand? Now, to stand for something means to put up with, endure, tolerate, accept, take, support, back, and endorse - pay the price.
Would I get through this major adjustment in my life?
Would I survive living alone in what one of my elder Anglican peers called Randy’s “doll house,” which consisted of one tiny bedroom, a small kitchen, petite living room, closet-office, and claustrophobic -bathroom, with basic indoor plumbing (no running water…except for when I ran to get it!), electric heat and as it just now occurs to me - one entrance/exit through a little porch?
Would I stand for this?
Would I stand through this?
Or would I reach my “Popeye Point?”
(For you youngsters reading this, before he was "chicken," Popeye was a favourite cartoon character!)
To you who are old enough to know - do you remember this - one of Popeye’s famous lines heard in almost every cartoon?
"That's all I can stands, cuz I can't stands n'more!"- now known as the “Popeye Point!”
I confess there were days when I felt that I could not do this; I could not live in these circumstances; I could not pay the price to be the harvester of souls that the Lord had called me to be; I was not a fisherman nor was I a fisher of men. Sorry Lord but this ain’t going to work! “I can’t stands n’more!”
During one of those dark periods, unknown to the corps folk, the Sargent-Major told me of a time of revival in the Salvation Army in Elliston. He spoke of a Sunday night prayer meeting which saw the Holy Spirit moving in the hearts of the people. One dear soul, said Job, jumped to his feet in prayer and cried out in a loud voice “O Lord our God send us the fires of revival! Send them now Lord! Send them right down through the roof O God! I’ll stand for the shingles!”
Of course I smiled at the old gentleman’s literal perspective on how God might manifest Himself through real flames coming through the roof and consuming the shingles! Nevertheless, I was convicted by the willingness of this dear saint to pay the price; to stand for whatever it cost. I knew then and there that I too must stand, I must pay the price. That was a long time ago.
As I become more and more aware of what surrounds me here at the archives I must confess it’s quite a challenge to realize some of the conditions or circumstances faced by our forebears. The sacrifice and dedication I see is overwhelming especially in our present age of entitlement. I think of the many things they endured that demanded so much of them which we would never think of standing (paying) for. I don’t doubt that they too had their “Popeye Moments” but if you recall, that was always the point when Popeye drew upon his key source of strength – his spinach - and instead of running away he took from its nourishment and faced head first into the storm and won the day.
The pioneers did the same! (No, by that I don’t mean they ate spinach! )
“Can’t stands no more?”
Remember Jesus response to His disciples in John 4? But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about…My food…is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:32&34 NIV)
Here, eat this:
Psalm 46 NIV
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
6Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
430: Life Is A Journey; Long Is The Road
LIFE is a journey; long is the road,
And when the noontide is high
Souls that are weary faint 'neath their load,
Long for the waters, and cry:
The well is deep and I require
A draught of the water of life,
But none can quench my soul's desire
For a draught of the water of life;
Till one draws near who the cry will heed,
Helper of men in their time of need,
And I, believing, find indeed
That Christ is the water of life.
Life is a seeking, life is a quest,
Eager and longing desire;
Unto the true things, unto the best,
Godward our spirits aspire.
Life is a finding; vain wanderings cease
When from the Savior we claim
All we have longed for, solace and peace,
And we have life in His name.
Orsborn, Albert William Thomas
Born: Maidstone, Kent, 4 September 1886
Died: Boscombe, Hampshire, 4 February 1967
Son of Salvation Army officers who helped pioneer Army work in Norway in 1888. He worked at International Headquarters, 1899-1905, and at the age of 16 won first prize in a song competition organised by The War Cry. After training,1905-06, he served in corps appointments at Chelmsford, Lowestoft South and Ipswich Citadel. He was then appointed Brigade Officer at the training college, and during the First World War was Divisional Young People's Secretary in the East London Division. He wrote about 250 songs for holiness meetings at the Congress Hall, Clapton, 1912-19. He was Divisional Commander, in Norwich, 1919-22, and in South London, 1922-25, and then Chief Side Officer for Men at the International Training College for eight years. Subsequently he was Chief Secretary in New Zealand, 1933-36; Territorial Commander, Scotland and Ireland, 1936-40; and British Commissioner, 1940-46. Elected General in 1946, he served for eight years until his retirement in 1954. He published an anthology of his songs and poems, The Beauty of Jesus, 1947, and his autobiography, The House of my Pilgrimage, 1958