“What is this that he saith, A little while?” (John 16:18)

Oh! for the peace which floweth as a river,
Making life’s desert places bloom and smile !
Oh! for a faith to grasp heaven’s bright ” for ever,”
Amid the shadows of earth’s ” little while ! “

“A little while” for patient vigil-keeping,
To face the storm, to wrestle with the strong;
“A little while” to sow the seed with weeping,
Then bind the sheaves and sing the harvest-song.

“A little while” to wear the robe of sadness,
To toil with weary step through erring ways;
Then to pour forth the fragrant oil of gladness,
And clasp the girdle of the robe of praise.

“A little while” ‘mid shadow and illusion
To strive by faith Love’s mysteries to spell;
Then reap each dark enigma’s clear solution,
Then hail Light’s verdict — “He doth all things well.”

“A little while” the earthen pitcher taking
To wayside brooks from far-off fountains fed ;
Then the parched lip its thirst for ever slaking
Beside the fulness of the Fountain-Head.

“A little while” to keep the oil from failing;
“A little while” Faith’s flickering lamp to trim,
And then the Bridegroom’s coming footstep hailing.
To haste to meet Him with the bridal hymn.

And He who is at once both Gift and Giver,
The future glory, and the present smile,
With the bright promise of the glad “for ever,”
Will light the shadows of the “little while.”

~Jane Crewdson

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