There is more than the possibility, when your prayers are long unanswered, and your expectations languish, and the dark clouds of hopeless despair begin to settle down on your soul, that you say with Jacob of old (Isa. 40:27), “My way is hid from the Lord and my judgment is passed over from my God.”
A dark mystery seems to attach to the dealings of God with you. Things are not as in days past when His candle lit up your darkness and His sun shone on your path. You then prayed and were heard. You felt that you had abundance of help and sympathy from on high. Your sky was clear and your song triumphant. But now clouds, darkness, difficulty, sorrow, helplessness surround you, and your heart is crushed. And the sore experience continues. Did it last but a night and then be followed in the morning by joy and deliverance, you could bear it; but that deliverance comes not, and the one thing that makes life, for the man of faith, worth living—the realized, conscious help and smile and favour of God—are still withheld. If His loving-kindness be better than life, the lack of it is worse than death. “True, indeed,” you say. Hence you think that your way is hid from the Lord and your judgment passed over by God!
So you feel; nor can any one relieve you of the feeling. Your condition is deplorable, but it is not altogether uncommon. Others have gone through the same murky waters and felt the same bitter pain. That road is well trodden; and, toilsome though it be, it leads to the right and blessed end.
Your way hidden! Ah! that is not likely. Your judgment passed over—never!
Then why am I thus? Why this tide of sorrow, loss, bereavement, misery? The question may be unanswerable, at least by man; nor is he, in his limitations, able to assuage your sorrow, or to relieve you of your load; but how, oh how can your way be hidden from Him to whom all things are naked and opened, and who knows your down-sitting and your uprising, and who numbers the very hairs of your head?
God assuredly knows all your sorrow and pursues, with a care that is as unfailing as it is wise, all the intricacies of your chequered way. Say not: “My way is hid from the Lord.” As surely as you are a child of God, even though your faith be feeble, forget you He never will! Never.
Mark, the explanation of His ways with you shall be given in good time, but not today; and does not the greater part of your difficulty lie in the desire to obtain that explanation now? Most probably. Must God explain to us the why and wherefore of His discipline? Is that necessary to us? Must we give the reason to our children why we see fit to chasten them? And if God supplied us with the deep secret of His corrections, would we benefit therefrom?
Many a long chapter of trial did the patriarch Job pass through ere he was given to know the reason of his losses, bereavements, and trials. But the reason came at last, and was understood and valued.
“To do thee good at thy latter end” was the object of the manna that had to be gathered in the lowly stoop of each day’s journey. Happy it is when the end justifies the means, and when the sorely tried pilgrim is content to walk by faith and not by sight, just because he knows that all things (sweet or bitter, pleasant or painful) work together for good to them that love God, and are called according to his purpose.
“Give us,” prayed an honoured servant of Christ, “unbounded confidence in Thine unbounded love.” Get hold of the fact that you are loved with love unbounded, even though you fear that your way is hidden, and your judgment passed over, and even though “all these things are (as this same Jacob said) against” you, then light will begin to break on your poor desponding heart, and the clouds will scatter under the light of heaven.
What a remedy the same passage, in Isaiah 40, supplies. “The young men,” we read, “shall utterly faint and fail” (for the greatest human vigour is unequal to the strain), “but they that wait on the Lord shall renew (change) their strength, they shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
What is the remedy? To wait on the Lord. Is that all? Yes; but, if you wait on the Lord, you abandon every other conceivable refuge. You reach the glorious Fountain Head, where the heart is at rest and satisfied for evermore.
“God is love; he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).