"Would to God Some One Was Looking For Me."
by A. S. Ormsby
I was a wand'ring sheep,
I did not love the fold;
I did not love my Shepherd's voice,
I would not be controlled.
I was a wayward child,
I did not love my home;
I did not love my Father's voice,
I loved afar to roam.
The Shepherd sought His sheep,
The Father sought His child;
They followed me o'er vale and hill,
O'er desert, waste, and wild.
They found me nigh to death,
Famished, and faint, and lone;
They bound me with the bands of love,
They saved the wand'ring one.
"Doth He not . . . go after that which is lost, until He find it.” Luke xv. 4.
Through the drizzling rain, and penetrating fog of a November night, a poorly-clad, anxious-looking woman hurried along a crowded London thoroughfare.
Apparently she was seeking someone, from the earnest looks she cast after muffled-up figures, indistinctly visible through the fog, who rapidly passed her by; and ever and anon, she paused as the swing-door of some brilliantly-lighted gin palace opened to let in or out a woman's figure.
But her quest seemed fruitless, and her steps grew more faltering and uncertain, when suddenly she noticed, standing under a lamp-post, the tall figure of a graceful-looking girl. With a glad cry, she hurried forward. "Oh, my child, my child! Thank God, I have found you."
Startled, the girl turned suddenly, disclosing the face of a stranger. "Ah!" said the poor mother, with bitter disappointment in her voice, "forgive me; I mistook you for my daughter; I've been looking for my child for the last three weeks."
A look of anguish passed over the girl's wan face, as she turned away with the hopeless reply, "Would to God some one was looking for me."
The above, in substance, was related by an evangelist at a gospel meeting. To those who know anything of the City, its sins and its sorrows, it tells its own tale. Neither a very new, nor a very unusual one. But it brings to light in a marked way the deadly diplomacy of Satan, who first woos and gently draws souls along the "broad road" leading to destruction; and then, when a certain point is reached, when they tremble to go forward, and dare not go back, urges them on with the speed of despair.
"You cannot return now; you cannot retrieve the past," he whispers to the poor captive trembling in his toils. "You have ruined yourself, disgraced your name, disgusted your friends. No one will have anything to say to you now. You forsook God, now He has forsaken you. The best thing you can do is to try and forget the past, and make the most of the pleasures which I offer you still" And the poor soul, reckless and despairing, plunges into new and deeper scenes of sin and folly, until death closes a career as often brief as stormy.
Many years ago, I was arranging where to hang a beautiful engraving, entitled, "The Prodigal Son," and made some casual enquiry as to how she liked it, of the servant who was helping me. Never shall I forget the deep pathos of her ambiguous reply: "Ah! miss, there are prodigal daughters as well as prodigal sons."
If the eye of one such should rest upon these pages—one worn out with sin, weary of the world, sick at heart of its (so-called) pleasures, longing for rest, and yet knowing not where to find it---- the unuttered cry of whose heart is, "Who will show me any good?" or, in the desolateness of despair, with the young girl mentioned above, "Would to God some one was looking for me," I would say to such, God sends you a message of love; receive it, believe it, and rest your weary sin-stricken soul on the infinite grace and companion of Him who has said, "Come now, and let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost." "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth he not . . . go after that which is lost until he find it?" Fatherless, motherless, friendless, homeless, you may be; scorned and cast out by the hollow world that once courted and flattered you; still there is One who is looking for you. Following you with a watchful eye, and a yeaning, grieving heart, into all the dark scenes of sin and folly, where Satan leads you his willing captive. Poor lost one, the Good Shepherd is looking for you. Tell me, will you listen to the pleadings of His love? Will you respond to the sweet invitations of His grace? The world may say, "You are too bad;" conscience may say, "You are too bold;" Satan may whisper, "You are too late." But close your heart, I entreat you, to all such suggestions, and respond to the call of Christ in the words of the hymn, if you have none of your own—
"Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Iamb of God, I come."
"Will He receive me," you say, "after all these years of sin and forgetfulness of Him, after a father's counsel scorned, a mother's prayers slighted, a Bible never read! Must I not try and retrieve the past? Must I not try and give up sinning, and do something to merit His love and forgiveness?" Poor anxious soul, He makes no such demand upon you; for well He knows you could not fulfill it. It is enough for Him that you are weary, and sad, and lonely, and LOST; and His heart, in its infinite compassion, goes after you with the yearning desire that you should know His salvation, believe His love, and accept His grace.
The darkest sin you can now commit is to disbelieve His love, to reject His grace, to turn your back upon this offer of salvation He is now making you. By this paper you hold in your hand, He is again calling to you, and His words are, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." There is no rest to be found in the world, no peace, no satisfaction. You have tried the "pleasures of sin," and found their end to be misery and desolation. You have been "behind the scenes" of this world's revelry, and know the pain and disappointment hidden beneath many a smiling face. Now come, I entreat you, to the One who alone can give----
"Pleasures that never shall past away,
Freely, freely, freely."
He knows how desolate and heart-broken you are How often, in the midst of the gayest scenes, the ball-room, the theatre, the music-hall, the cry has gone up from your heart, if not your lips, "I perish with hunger;" and He longs to save, to cleanse, and to comfort you. He loves to see the tear of genuine repentance rolling down the sinners cheek; He delights to hear the voice, husky with the soul-anguish cry, "Father, I have sinned;" for then His grace and mercy, hitherto pent up and restrained, can flow forth unhindered, like a mighty rushing flood, and draw you to His arms in an eternal embrace.
Oh, what love! what unfathomable love! And all may be yours, by believing in Him who came "to seek and to save that which was lost."—"the Man of sorrows," yet the "Son of God;" the One whom the world has "despised and rejected," but God has glorified. Will you come to Him as a sinner, and accept Him as your Saviour? Will you take Him as yours for time and eternity? As a poor woman dying in a work-house infirmary said, a few minutes before her soul passed away, "He is mine, and I am His." Will you not echo her words, and gladly own "the joy of possession, what it is?"
Only a few more setting suns, and then the journey will be over, and home reached. No more tears, no more fears, no more sorrow then. Meanwhile, the psalmist's words of confidence may be yours also: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."
The light of the sunlit skies
May pass or pale,
And the voice of the singing birds
May falter and fail;
But the light that hath dawned on my soul
Shall darken never,
And my new redemption song
Shall sound forever.
And when these heavens shall vanish
With time away,
And the startled world shall wake
To the judgment-day,
My hiding-place and my sure abode
Shall ever be
In the wounded side of Him
Who died for me.
A. S. 0.
"The Gospel Watchman" 1882