I shared a story the other day from the book “Heidi” about one little girl’s amazing faith in God when prayers seem to go unanswered. Here’s another touching dialogue about trusting God between Heidi and a doctor friend whose daughter has died. He has come from Frankfurt to visit Heidi up on her very special mountain…
“Yes, Heidi,” he responded, “I see how lovely it all is, but tell me — if one brings a sad heart up here, how may it be healed so that it can rejoice in all this beauty?”
“Oh, but,” exclaimed Heidi, “no one is sad up here, only in Frankfurt.”
The doctor smiled and then growing serious again he continued, “But supposing one is not able to leave all the sadness behind at Frankfurt; can you tell me anything that will help then?”
“When you do not know what more to do you must go and tell everything to God,” answered Heidi with decision.
“Ah, that is a good thought of yours, Heidi,” said the doctor. “But if it is God Himself who has sent the trouble, what can we say to Him then?”
Heidi sat pondering for a while; she was sure in her heart that God could help out of every trouble. She thought over her own experiences and then found her answer.
“Then you must wait,” she said, “and keep on saying to yourself: God certainly knows of some happiness for us which He is going to bring out of the trouble, only we must have patience and not run away. And then all at once something happens and we see clearly ourselves that God has had some good thought in His mind all along; but because we cannot see things beforehand, and only know how dreadfully miserable we are, we think it is always going to be so.”
“That is a beautiful faith, child, and be sure you hold it fast,” replied the doctor. Then he sat on a while in silence, looking at the great overshadowing mountains and the green, sunlit valley below before he spoke again, —
“Can you understand, Heidi, that a man may sit here with such a shadow over his eyes that he cannot feel and enjoy the beauty around him, while the heart grows doubly sad knowing how beautiful it could be? Can you understand that?”
A pain shot through the child’s young happy heart. The shadow over the eyes brought to her remembrance the grandmother, who would never again be able to see the sunlight and the beauty up here. This was Heidi’s great sorrow, which re-awoke each time she thought about the darkness. She did not speak for a few minutes, for her happiness was interrupted by this sudden pang. Then in a grave voice she said, —
“Yes, I can understand it. And I know this, that then one must say one of grandmother’s hymns, which bring the light back a little, and often make it so bright for her that she is quite happy again. Grandmother herself told me this.”
“Which hymns are they, Heidi?” asked the doctor.
“I only know the one about the sun and the beautiful garden, and some of the verses of the long one, which are favorites with her, and she always likes me to read them to her two or three times over,” replied Heidi.
“Well, say the verses to me then, I should like to hear them too,” and the doctor sat up in order to listen better.
Heidi put her hands together and sat collecting her thoughts for a second or two: “Shall I begin at the verse that grandmother says gives her a feeling of hope and confidence?”
The doctor nodded his assent, and Heidi began, —
Let not your heart be troubled
Nor fear your soul dismay,
There is a wise Defender
And He will be your stay.
Where you have failed, He conquers,
See, how the foeman flies!
And all your tribulation
Is turned to glad surprise.
If for a while it seemeth
His mercy is withdrawn,
That He no longer careth
For His wandering child forlorn,
Doubt not His great compassion,
His love can never tire,
To those who wait in patience
He gives their heart’s desire.
from the book, “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri, 1880
Ah…..the faith of a child.