One the happiest parts of my life at present is the view out my office window. My second-story window in Sutherland Hall at Biola University looks down on a little sunlit courtyard with a fountain. The branches of a tree touch the window, and through-out the day, the sunlight filters through the leaves illuming and shining through some and casting shadows on others.
Watching the sunshine outside his window gave joy to Andrew Murray. He wrote, “From my breakfast-table I look out on a beautiful valley, with trees and vineyards and mountains. In our spring and autumn months the light in the morning is exquisite, and almost involuntarily we say, How beautiful!”
The beautiful valley Murray saw out his window is in Wellington, South Africa. Wellington is a little further inland from Cape Town than Stellenbosch, with its famous vineyards, but not as far in as Ceres. I happen to have read a description of the beautiful Ceres Valley in Afrikaans! When I lived in Kenya in the 90’s, I used to get Ceres fruit juice from South Africa. On the back of the juice carton, it described where the juice (die vrugtesap) came from: a “vrugbare valley, omring deur berg, waar die vrugte so soet and sappig groei” (a fertile valley, surrounded by mountains, where the fruit grows so sweet and juicy).
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) lived a remarkably fruitful life. Like his father, he was a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa. He was not only a pastor but also a missionary, an evangelist, an educator and a writer. He helped to found a mission society and several schools including the Theological Seminary of Stellenbosch and the Huguenot Seminary for women. He was a spokesperson for the South African revival of 1860 and spoke as an evangelist in Europe and America. He also wrote over 200 books.
The passage about the sunlight on the beautiful valley comes from a devotional book Murray wrote in 1895 called Waiting on God. Each day for 31 days, Murray offers a meditation on a scripture passage about waiting on God. The theme verse is Psalm 62:1: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.”