I SUFFER, that I may behold, when pain
Has passed away, Thy face in righteousness.
It is the suffering here that fits the soul
For the bright vision of eternal bliss.
I suffer, that these dim, dim eyes of mine
May be thus purified, and made to see
Afar off even now, and farther still,
In the vast vistas of eternity.
Only the touch of suffering can remove
This earth-born dulness from my narrow sight;
Only the healing which the rod imparts
Can fit me for beholding holy light.
I suffer, that I may behold the cross
In all its fitness for a soul like mine;
Who but a sufferer knows what such a cross
Can mean, or see its glory fully shine?
I suffer here, that I may taste the joy
Hereafter in the city of the blest;
That I may bear the brilliance that shall burst
Upon us in the Paradise of rest.
Our present light affliction, which endures
But for a moment, worketh for us there
A weight of glory, such as sorrow here
Alone can fit us to possess or bear.
Only the pressure of a loving hand,
A hand as tender as divinely wise,
Can lift these drooping eyelids, and impart
True health and vigour to these sickly eyes.
I suffer, that I may be strong to gaze
Upon the glory yet to be revealed;
Glory which we shall yet in joy behold,
When earthly vision shall be purged and healed.
O silent arrows of the Lord my God,
O secret touches of a hand unseen,
O sharpness of the sweet but bitter rod,
Yet softness of the still small voice within!
Horatius Bonar, The Song of the New Creation and Other Pieces, (London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1872), 40–41.