This article recounts the sad scene of the funeral of an African child. Her thoughts on this cause her to meditate on Revelation Chapter 21, Verse 4:
We have to start early for the services on Sabbath morning, as we go far over the hills, and it is stony land and hard to manage – the cycle is no use then. Even before we reach our destination the sun is high. On entering the first town, we met a woman who told us, so and so’s child is dead, and there, sure enough, were the mourning women round the door, and the little grave dug at the door-step. Pushing in among the sweating, howling crowd, I asked for the mother; then the wailing ceased. I found her in a dark corner. She had fainted. After a little she recovered, and her first conscious wail was “my boy, my boy!” By-and-by the wee laddie was brought out, just held in his mat. I opened it to see him, and there was the poor emaciated body with swollen head in all the hideousness of disease and dirt, to be hidden from the sight of the people. The grave was far too short, and rather than desecrate the poor wee body, I made them make it longer, and they laid him down to do this just as if he had been a piece of goods; then they laid him in, and threw on the earth less than a foot from the top soil. There was no want of tenderness either, for the women again burst forth with wailing. His own father threw on the earth, and the women after we had gone took the poor mother away to cheer her and remove the grave from her sight.
It was all they could do.
As I went from village to village the memory of this scene coloured all my outlook. It led me to take as my subject Revelation xxi, 4: no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death; God wiping the tears from all eyes. But even that great assurance could not lift the sadness, the terrible squalor, the utter hopelessness of these crowds of sister-hearts. Then there came comfort. It was as if He said, “I do not wish you to be ignorant of what I am working out in all the mystery of sin and suffering. It is not My fault that you do not know, it is your own capacity that is wanting, but that too is coming. You do not need to wait for heaven, it is coming daily as your horizon widens, and day by day you will know better and more.”
“I do not wish you to be ignorant of what I am working out in all the mystery of sin and suffering. It is not My fault that you do not know, it is your own capacity that is wanting, but that too is coming. You do not need to wait for heaven, it is coming daily as your horizon widens, and day by day you will know better and more.”
Then the dark side passed out of sight, and brighter and grander things came into view. The sweetness of a summer breeze seemed to come over me, and the quiet, holy, perfumed, flower-laden atmosphere of the Christian home came before me, with all the earthly and the perishing parts transmuted into the heavenly. The valley was illumined by the Resurrection and the Life Himself, and He seemed to put His hand on me. Restfulness seemed to come then, and it covered all things and received all things into itself. The Glory even covered all that sweating, dirty, shrieking mass of womanhood I had left, and the poor, little body, with all the ravages of sin, unconcealed and unmitigated by covering and cleansing; and His voice hushed my heart into perfect trustfulness, as He seemed to say over and over again,
“What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.”
Published in the Women’s Missionary Magazine [July 1908]
Dundee City Archives