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XLI

THE WORST AND THE BEST

“He knew what was in man.”—John ii. 25.

OUR Lord has always known what is in every man. Everything is transparent. The rosebush does not hide the refuse-heap. The stage-play of piety does not conceal the life behind the scenes. We have no secret chambers. He knows all about our most private rooms. Here, at any rate, all camouflage is useless. He sees the thought that has never yet found words. He sees the ugly purpose which is hiding like a snake in the grass. He sees the desire that will not die, but which will not show its face in the street. The Lord knows all about us. We are glass-houses, and everything is manifest. And this should fill us with holy fear: “Thou, God, seest me!”

But there is another way of looking at the apostle’s word, and this other way is 145full of inspiration. The Lord certainly knows my worst, and yet He it is who has the best hopes for me. That is to me one of the most wonderful of all wonderful things. He who knows my worst has more hope for me than they who know my best. My best is only very blind and lame, and it does not offer much promise of anything very splendid that is coming. And so it is that they who are allowed to see my best, my parade days, my prepared moments, are not very enthusiastic in their predictions of the marvelous conquests that await me. But the Saviour sees my very worst. He has turned it all over. Not a thing in all the sad heritage of my past has escaped Him. Not a bit of dirt has been overlooked. Not a sin has slipped by unnoticed. Not a hiding germ of disease in any one of my faculties or powers has gone unregistered. He knows it all, every item in the black collection. And having seen the worst His gospel music sings of the best! He uses such words as these to tell the brightness of His hopes concerning me—“perfect whole,” “holy,” “clean.” And He amazes me when He seeks my intimate companionship, “that where I am there 146ye may be also.” Yes, He who sees my worst has invincible hopes of the best.

This wonderfully hopeful way of looking at the worst is born of His unspeakable love. For it is one of the crowning distinctions of love that her sight is not only clear insight but radiant foresight. Love is Omega as well as Alpha, and she sees the shining end from the dull beginning. But better than all else is this—He who sees my worst is ready to become incorporate with me in all the vital intimacy of His redeeming sacrifice. At Calvary He becomes one with the shame of my worst that I may be enfolded in the grace and glory of His best. I am bound up in the same bundle of life with the Lord my God.

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