From the time when the few disciples set out on the great Adventure in a world that was hardly aware of their existence, an adventure that seemed merely laughable in face of the majesty and might of Rome, to the present day with its materialism and unbelief, the task of the Church has seemed almost a hopeless one. The Church has always been fighting what seemed a losing battle. Looking at the slums of our cities, at the state of the world, so untouched apparently by the appeal of the gospel, at the international rivalries and jealousies, at the great seething life of the non-Christian peoples, one is disposed to ask: Has anything been done? Is not our effort little better than a failure?

Heb. 13:5,6.---' Be content with what you have, for He has said, Never will I fail you, never will I forsake you. So that we can say confidently, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can men do to me?

To all fighters in such causes comes the great word of the text: never will I leave you when you are fighting a losing battle. The cause is God's and he will not turn His back on it, or on those who are serving it. You may be the only one left to uphold it, but because God is with you it will win. How often this has happened! The slaves are free today; the Foreign Mission enterprise never was so powerful or so hopeful; the Christian Church has never been more alive or more really influential in the world. A noted general, addressing a gathering of chaplains during a past War, said to them: "Speak to the men often about the Cause, for men won't fight without a Cause." And if the Cause is God's and we are serving it we need not lose heart or hope, for Himself hath said: Never will I forsake you.

How full of inspiration this word is to many among us who are doing difficult work that often seems fruitless. Preaching, for example, or teaching in a Sunday School, or training a family of boys and girls. It is like casting bread on the waters. Many a preacher, starting with high ideals and expectations, sees so little result of all his labor and prayer that his heart becomes sore and he is tempted to sink down into a despondent dreariness. We all have this temptation. But how often, and in what countless ways, has this promise been nobly fulfilled. History and biography are full of instances of great results coming from little causes, of a word spoken sinking deep into a life and producing character or faith or a great career of devotion. Work for a great end has God in it and when God is in it, it will come to its end in a ripe harvest. Never will I forsake you.

If I were asked to say first what it is that has most vividly impressed itself upon my passive consciousness in these months of enforced times of quietness from active service and human fellowship I think the answer would be a strong realization of the immanence of God in the affairs of mankind . . . never for a single instant does He lose his hold upon man or nation, and it rests with Him and not with us to decide the future. Nothing earthly has escaped from His control, be appearances what they may; and nothing matters save in its spiritual reactions. Oh, the comfort of knowing this, and the sweetness of resting one's soul upon it!

And so it is. What brings us to ineffectiveness oftentimes is fear, fear of the future, fear of circumstances, distrust of ourselves. We need a great-hearted attitude to life and to our task and to our enemies. And if we believe in God and God's hold of us and God's loyalty to us, all fear will be purged from our hearts. And with fear goes half our weakness. The courage that never knows when it is beaten comes from the faith that God will not leave us in the lurch.

But the greatest use of this knowledge is to use it! We can boldly say that God is our helper. It is not we "may" or "can" say, but we do say. The good of such a promise is found when we test it. Here is a great word. This is what the word of God needs, and what it does not always get. We listen to sermons, we read the Word, and we go away with only a general, vague impression of good. But let us say, "Yes that is true. I act on it now, in my life, in my condition, in my difficult task, in my despair, in my failure. Yes, I here and now say with a new courage, The Lord is my Helper". That is the "use" that brings peace and power and victory.