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But for a Moment

Joel 2:1–32

After the wicked King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes and condemned tens of thousands of the noblest men and women of France to torture and to death, many brave women were imprisoned in a huge tower called the Tour de Constance. The dungeon was a terrible place; its walls were 15 feet thick, and it was lighted only by narrow embrasures. The sister of a martyred minister lived for 36 years in that prison, and never gave way.

When at last the Huguenot women were released in 1768, someone found a word scored in the middle of the hard stone floor. The inscription is hardly readable, and to see it on a fine summer day, one has to kneel down and have a candle lighted; otherwise it is too dark. That one word is Resist. It is thought that some woman carved it, perhaps with a needle (the tracing is so faint), toiling at that word to help and strengthen herself and others, so that after she was gone they might be encouraged in their resolve to endure till the end. Surely the powers of endurance that God can give to the human soul are beyond our understanding. These women had not even the comfort of their Bibles. They had nothing, nothing—but God. Can the God who so gloriously nourished them with heavenly strength not feed us also, in our lesser needs, as we wait day by day upon him?

When we think of suffering, such as myriads have endured in all ages, in all lands, and of the suffering, too, that many are enduring today, our own little troubles and difficulties seem too small to think about at all, and we can only find relief in praying for those who suffer. And yet, though this is so, sometimes our trifles can try us a good deal, and those words, “And even this shall pass,” may perhaps bring comfort to some among us. At longest it is “but for a moment,” and then . . . ?

—Amy Carmichael


  1. What area of your life seems lost or hopeless? Ask God for the strength to resist giving way to discouragement.
  2. How does God’s promise to “repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” give you hope?
  3. How does the thought that what you are enduring is “but for a moment” in light of eternity bring you comfort?

Joel 2:25, 27
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you . . . Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.”

Related Readings

Psalm 103:1–22; 2 Corinthians 4:16–17; Revelation 2:20–29

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