Hitherto, Take Two

I posted this first on this day two years ago. In my morning devotion time today I came across this Spurgeon entry again. The thought struck me how quickly the last two years have added themselves to the long line of “hitherto.”  I hope you enjoy this a second time as we charge into 2011. Happy New Year!  -Alison

Today I’m sharing something from my morning prayer time.  Have you read any of Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening?  I’ve found it to be a treasure.  No, he doesn’t talk like we do today…using words like “hitherto,” but like any great spiritual writing, it’s timeless. His writing proves lyrical and beautiful.

I don’t have to tell you that this has been a hard year for many people everywhere.  Savoring Spurgeon’s thoughts brought encouragement.  I hope it does for you, too.

“Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” 1Samuel 7:12

The word “hitherto” seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet, “hitherto the Lord hath helped!” Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, “hitreestherto hath the Lord helped us!” We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves; even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys. Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received “hitherto.”

But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and writes “hitherto,” he is not yet at the end, there is still a distance to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No! there is more yet-awakening in Jesus’s likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fulness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. O be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy “Ebenezer,” for–

He who hath helped thee hitherto

Will help thee all thy journey through.

When read in heaven’s light how glorious and marvellous a prospect will thy “hitherto” unfold to thy grateful eye!

– Charles Spurgeon