Lovingly in the Hands of the Father
By Evelyn Whitell
This is a true story. May it reach those who are seeking release from bondage.
I was called over the telephone by someone in trouble. That was nothing unusual, seeing that my life has been dedicated to service. The only difficulty with the call was my lack of leisure to give it attention.
The woman’s voice was imperative. “I must see you,” she declared, “even if it is only for five minutes.”
Minutes to me were golden; but the memory suddenly came to me of something said years ago by a man of wide experience: “You can find time for anything that you really want to do.” Since then I have found that we always work in, by a side door or through some crevice, the things that are nearest to our heart.
I have, too, a very literal way of accepting the Scriptures. I take a promise as it is given, and when I am told that the Lord will provide, I know that His provision includes time for the necessary things of life, as well as our daily bread.
The woman in trouble met me at the door of her boardinghouse. She was tall and good-looking, with a pleasing personality. She was the caretaker of the place. “Caretaker—yes, and I’ve been in this place for five years,” she explained. “It was the only work to which I could turn after I lost my money. Before that I had always been used to a home of my own, but now for five years I have been working for strangers, doing the work of an ordinary janitor—scrubbing, cleaning, answering telephones, smiling on the guests when many a time I felt inclined to kick them. I’m so tired of it all that I have grown to hate the dawn that brings the pots and pans into sight again.”
On my arrival her expression had been full of hope and anticipation. As she talked her expression changed. The light of battle was in her eyes. In a moment I sensed what she had been building into her world during five years.
“I’ve done all in my power to get free from this,” she continued, “but I can’t even find time to look for anything else, and I don’t dare throw out the dirty water until I get the clean. Every day I make up my mind to answer advertisements in the evening paper, but when evening comes I’m so worn out that I care for nothing but sleep. What would you advise me to do?”
"What do you want to do?" I asked.
Fortunately she knew. The majority of discontented persons are aimless seek- ers without any definite goal toward which they can steer. "I want to be the head of a large guest house," she replied, "where I can meet people from all parts of the world— where my work will be to supervise and to entertain the guests instead of having to cook and to clean for them. I have studied much, I have thought much in times past, but all that has been pushed out of my life by the roughness of what I have had to do here."
Her voice was appealing. "How am I going to get this?" she asked.
It would have been quite easy for me to find a position such as this capable woman wanted, but I knew that, unless her outlook on life became different, she would not be much better off in a better situation. When the disciple is ready the Master is ready also. She had with her own hands closed the door to her good by her mental outlook. True and conscientious, she had neglected none of the duties laid down as her share, but she had detested those duties while she had done them. While she worked, she had fought. One thing I knew she lacked, and that was love.
"You are quite right," she responded when I told her this. "I have fought rather than trusted. While I have prayed to God for deliverance, I have blamed Him for not sending it. I could not think of Him as a God of justice while He favored others and left me in the lurch."
"God never favors anyone," I tried to explain. "We prosper as we walk with His law. Nothing was ever gained by fighting. What we fight always fights back. Before you can be free, you must learn to love the place where you are and know that you are doing God's work, even if it is only washing the pots and pans in a boardinghouse."
I had with me a statement, one that I use constantly use, one that I have never known to fail: “I place myself and all my affairs lovingly in the hands of the Father, with a childlike trust. That which is for my highest good shall come to me." As we repeated it together, her face changed; the hard lines of her mouth melted into a smile. "Lovingly in the hands of the Father," she repeated.
"Dwell on the word 'lovingly,'" I said. Then for a moment we kept our eyes closed and realized that the great God of love was taking care of her problems and was solving it for her in His own beauti- ful way.
Early the next morning she called me over the telephone. Her voice was full of optimism. "I went to sleep with those words on my lips," she said. "I awoke in the middle of the night with the usual worry thought, 'What next?'
But I just repeated, 'Lovingly in the hands of the Father,' and I Rested again without a fear. "When the alarm clock awoke me to early morning duties, and I thought of all that I had to do, I just smiled and said, 'Lovingly in the hands of the Father.' I am going around the house now with the vacuum cleaner, and it's saying with me as I run it, 'Lovingly in the hands of the Father.' I'm scrubbing out bowls and repeating, 'Lovingly in the hands of the Father.'"
"Keep it up," I said, "it'll work. "The next morning brought her voice of joy over the wires again. "I don't know whether the sun is shining or not," she said; "the sun is in my soul. I've stopped flinging down the dustpan be- cause it happened to be a dustpan. I'm singing to my cloth, as I wipe up the floor; I'm peeling onions and apples and saying, 'Lovingly in the hands of the Father.' When the grocery boy left his dirty footmarks on my clean steps, I smiled at him and said, 'Lovingly in the hands of the Father.' There is so much love in my heart that there's not room for anything else."
The third day came and her voice was not quite so optimistic. "Well—I've kept it up," she said, "but nothing has come.
'Lovingly in the hands of the Father,' " I replied, and, satisfied, she went back to work. Sweetly and patiently she worked on her affirmation, and before the end of another week the opening that she had craved became visible. Her voice was tense and nervous when she called me over the telephone. "Two real estate men were here last night," she said, "and in the course of conversation they told me that they were on the lookout for a woman to be manager of that big tourist guest house at A———. Of course I offered my services. They took my name and address and said that they would speak to the owner for me. They went away this morning, and I'm so afraid they won't return!"
'Lovingly in the hands of the Father,' " I replied. "We are asking only for what is for your highest good. If your work is in the guest house, you will be taken there."
Three days went by. Over the tele- phone came the voice again: "Well—those men never returned. I have not heard a thing.""
'Lovingly in the hands of the Father,' " again I repeated. "The fact that those men were led to your house shows that the law is working. Remem- ber God never closes one door without opening another."
Three more days—then over the tele-phone came a voice alive with gladness: "They've sent for me to go and see the owner of the place. I'm to go this very day. But suppose when I get there he doesn't want me—suppose I'm not the kind of person they need?"
'Lovingly in the hands of the Father,'" I said . Of course she got the situation. She went with the word "lovingly" on her lips and the realization that what was for her highest good should come to her. She went fearlessly, trustfully, and she con- quered where others had failed.
She got the position. She carried "Lovingly in the hands of the Father" into everything that she was called to do, and when a month had passed, the owner of the place came to her. "I don't know what you have been doing to this guest house," he said, "but the whole atmosphere has changed. It is now just what I've always desired it to be. While formerly we were losing out on every side, now we never have an empty room. But what pleases me most is the class of people we are attracting, the kind that I've always wanted to have. What is this secret magic that you possess?"
I can imagine the smile on her face as she answered. "It is no secret. It is some- thing I want the whole world to know. Before I found it I was just like thou- sands of others—worrying, fretting, praying for the future. But my eyes were opened by the words that I'm writ- ing on the heart of everyone who enters here: “Iplace myself and all my affairs lovingly in the hands of the Father, with a childlike trust. That which is for my highest good shall come to me.'"