April 11, 2024

Grandma Gray’s Lesson

Lillian Dale (L. D.) Avery-Stuttle
Photo by alpay tonga on Unsplash

Grandma Gray sat under the vine-covered veranda, mending stockings. There were so many of them, but Grandma didn’t seem the least disconcerted or worried over her task. But that was nothing new for her; she never worried. The dear old face was still beautiful, despite the lines that the sorrows of threescore years and 10 had written upon it—beautiful because of the peace of God, which rested there.

The autumn sunshine flickered through the ivy leaves and rested lovingly on the silvery head, and the soft breeze bore away the music of a sweet, tremulous voice. The tune was full of melody, but it was the words that arrested and held the attention of poor old Norah, the maid of all work, who was just hanging up her snowy clothes on the line under the maples. Grandma was singing her favorite hymn:

“He will perfect, in His good time,

That which concerneth me and mine;

Then blow, O winds! and roar, O sea!

He knoweth what is best for me.”

Norah was feeling very sad that afternoon; she had left a sick child at home in the morning, and it was with a heavy heart that the duties of the day had been done.

It was only three months before that Milly, the baby, the sunshine of the poor home, was taken from her, and she had heard the dull echo of the falling clods upon the little coffin. It seemed then to her as though she could never say, “Thy will be done,” and the burden seemed heavier with each succeeding day, till the poor heart had almost forgotten, in its misery, that there was anything left to be thankful for. But the song from the dear old lips touched her heart as though an angel had spoken to her. Could it be that the Lord did care, after all, and that He knew what was best for her, even though He had called her to a life of poverty and affliction? Her eyes were filled with tears, and from her heart a prayer arose for strength to suffer and to wait the Master’s will.

And still Grandma Gray sang on:

“Though dark the cloud and black the wave,

That guiding Hand will surely save;

He sends my joys, He counts my woes,

That which concerneth me He knows.”

This time the sweet, tremulous voice of the singer reached the ear of another of earth’s weary ones.

Margaret Lee, the country schoolteacher, was just going home—if one who “boards ’round” can be said to have a home— after one of the most trying days of the season. Her head was aching, and her tired eyes were almost blinded by the hot tears that sprang unbidden to them, as thoughts of the far-distant home and loved ones haunted her. It had been almost a year since she had said goodbye to all that was most dear to her, and bravely taken up the burden of life in a strange place. Margaret was the eldest of a large family, and her dear father’s dying words to her she could never forget. “Be a good girl, Maggie,” he had said; “be brave, and help poor Mother care for the children.” She was trying hard to heed the admonition, but today she feared she had made sorry work of it.

The day had been one of those peculiarly perplexing ones that are so well known to every teacher. Jimmie Brown had developed an entirely new species of mischief, and as he was a ringleader among the boys, the trouble was not long in spreading, until it seemed to the tired little woman that there was a spirit of anarchy in the very air. She felt sure there would be more trouble the next day; and it did not increase her happiness any when, a few moments before, Johnnie Bradshaw had overtaken her, and paused just long enough to call out carelessly: “Say, Teacher, Father says I hain’t comin’ to school no more, cause he can’t see’s I’m learnin’ none—nor I can’t, neither,” he added, slowly.

“O Johnnie!” was all the homesick, worried teacher had been able to say. She had tried so hard to do her best. She had lain awake hours and hours at night, too weary and anxious to sleep, planning how she could best add to the interest of her school, and this was her reward—this was all she had been able to accomplish. She felt almost as if the pitying Christ had forsaken her. Did He care for her troubles? Did He hear her prayers?

It was just then that the voice of Grandma, singing her sweet, trustful melody, had come to her ear, and spoken to her heart like a message from heaven. “ ‘He counts my woes.’ Yes, for even the very hairs of my head are numbered,” she whispered, softly. “ ‘That which concerneth me He knows.’ Then He surely knows just how tired and homesick I am, and how earnestly I have tried to serve Him in my humble sphere. If He perfects that which concerns me, I feel sure He cannot forget me for an hour, and that even these little worries and troubles are sent by His loving hand, for my perfection.”

And with this thought, sweet peace came into the troubled heart; while the dear white-haired singer, all unconscious of the lesson she had been teaching, continued her song:

“Then, as my grief His hand doth bring,

Why should I ever cease to sing,

Or cease to trust that love and care

Which doth protect me everywhere?

Then blow, O winds! and roar, O sea! He knoweth what is best for me.”