I was listening to an audio book of Sarah\’s Cottage by D.S. Stevenson. I liked the author\’s style but the story itself was rather pedestrian. I kept waiting for something to happen – not much did – but two incidents grabbed my attention. The first was when one of the characters explained to Sarah (sort of the main protagonist) why they\’d named their son Beric. Apparently the parents had read the story of Beric the Briton by G.A. Henty in their youth and loved the book (we did too) and so named their son after Henty\’s hero.
The second was when Sarah\’s Grandma was ill and Sarah anxiously went up to her room to check on her. Her Grandma asked her if she knew Cardinal John Newman\’s Prayer for a Holy Rest, to which the answer was yes, and her Grandma asked her to say it:
O Lord support us all the day long
Until the evening comes,
The shadows lengthen and the busy world is hushed,
The fever of life is over and our work is done.
Then Lord in your Mercy,
Give us a safe lodging,
A Holy rest and peace at the last.
Sarah\’s Grandma knew that her work was not yet done; she wasn\’t free to go to her holy rest…yet.
Last week I went to visit a friend in hospital. She has cancer and has previously undergone surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and now a second round of surgery and this time it was radical. She was talking about the amount of time, effort and money from the public purse that went into her last lot of surgery and whether it was worth it all – she doesn\’t know yet what her prognosis will be, although her progress post operatively has been much quicker than anyone expected. She\’s a Christian and isn\’t worried about her future as such but she had struggled with these thoughts. Although these weren\’t her words, in a sense it was a struggle over whether her work is done.
I prayed for her before I left and Psalm 139:16 came into my prayer:
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
I don\’t know what the outcome will be for my friend but I know that God knows and He knows whether or not her work is done and He determined before she was even formed the number of days ordained for her and not even cancer can interfere with His timing.