The way of love is never an easy way. If our hearts be set on walking in that way we must be prepared to suffer. "It was the way the Master went; should not the servant tread it still?" It is possible that we may be enclosed in circumstances which drain natural love, till we feel as dry as grass on an Indian hillside under a burning sun.
We have toiled for someone dear to us, but never knew it as toil. We have poured out stores of health never to be recovered, but did not know it, nor would we have cared if we had known it, so dearly did we love. And all our hope was that the one so cherished would become a minister to others. But it was not so.
And then unwillingly we became aware of a strange unresponsiveness in the one for whom nothing had seemed too much to do, of a coldness that chilled, a hardness that pushed away as with hard hands the heart that had almost broken to save that life from destruction.
Then (but only those who have gone through such a bereft hour will understand) a fear worse than any pain has us in its grip: is the love of the years slipping from us? "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"--is that fading from our memory? "Love never faileth"--is love failing now? Shall we find ourselves meeting lovelessness with lovelessness?
In such an hour a poem, now many years old, that expressed a desperate prayer, burned into words:
Deep unto deep,O Lord,
Crieth in me,
Gathering strength I come,
Lord, unto Thee.
Jesus of Calvary,
Smitten for me,
Ask what Thou wilt, but give
Love to me.
Yes, ask what Thou wilt--any hopes, any joys of human affection. Any rewards of love--but let not love depart. Nothing ordinary is equal to this new call; nothing in me suffices for this. O Lord of Love and Lord of Pain, abound in me in love: love through me, Love of God.