This I Believe

Smith, Robertson

  • Robertson Smith describes how a moment of apparent catastrophe formed his belief that all things work together for the good for those who love God, and led to his belief that God's loving purpose and presence are in every situation.
This object is in collection Subject Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
DCA Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
view transcript only

And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Robertson Smith is a literary agent, who has been a pianist, an actor, a singer, a department store clerk, and a writer. During World War II, he was also trained in the army to be a radio mechanic, but he says it never took. He calls his fifty years of varied experience a highly successful unsuccessful life, which he would change none of, neither the apparent bad nor the obvious good. Here now are the personal beliefs of Robertson Smith.
There are thousands of people, I'm sure, who believe as I did, that in some vague way all things work together for good. But gradually I discovered that despite wishful thinking and all the songwriters, wishing would not make it so. It took something more. There was a condition that must be met before it could become true in my own experience. Little by little I've come to understand and accept that condition: for those who love God. There are all too many who know much about Him, speak much about Him who obviously from their actions have never known this God of love at all. And on the other hand, where I least expect to find them, I meet those who obviously do know and love Him who know little or nothing about Him or even that it is God whom they're loving.
Along with many others, I only came to know and trust the infinite goodness and love of God through apparent disaster. There came one particular experience which I knew was either going to wreck me completely or be transformed into a blessing. All outer resources failed, and I was up against a situation from which there was no escape. No loving family or friends could help me. This was when life began, at its darkest moment. It was in the midst of this crisis surrounded by fear that I first found fearlessness. It was at this moment when life seemed anything but peaceful that I experienced the peace that passeth all understanding, that strange inner calm which I like to call the peace that doesn't make sense.
It was then that I realized that God was within me and hence had been with me all the time, even when I seemed to be running away from Him.
From that time on, I began to see God's purpose in all that happened to me and in all that had happened in the past, the so-called mistakes, the seemingly wasted years. The stumbling blocks had turned into steppingstones leading up, not down. It was all finally working together for good, because I had come to the place where I was beginning to understand the love of God.
I had found that God is life itself, the essence of all things; that He is in every experience, hidden in plain sight, whether I immediately recognize Him or not. Once I realized this, everything began to change. I came to believe and know that God, even as an earthly father, loved me and desired only good for me, even when he could not and dare not save me from experiences which might bring suffering. So in the process of becoming a man, I have come to know that if human love can be big enough and real enough to neither keep us from the lessons life would teach us nor alter its quality merely because it cannot approve our behavior, God who is love cannot but be infinitely greater.
Once I discovered the true meaning and reality of God's love, I found that suffering itself was undergoing a transformation. The slings and arrows might remain, and at times even seem to be multiplied, but there could no longer be any outrageous fortune. It's all good fortune because I believe that God can and does cause all things, even the seeming catastrophes, to work together for good for those who love Him, because they know Him as He is and find Him everywhere, even in the most unlikely places.
Those were the beliefs of Robertson Smith, literary agent of New York City.