"Whom the Lord Loveth"

A Word to Those who are Passing through Trial

Is it not a wonderful thing that the Lord should take a special and individual interest in you, and that for your own profit? If you were asked what you desired for yourself above all things, would you not answer, I should like to be just that which the Lord Himself desires that I should be? If that is your desire He will bring it to pass, and it is more than likely that this present pressure, this trial through which you are passing, this sorrow that has lacerated your heart, is going to be a great factor in bringing you to the Lord's end for you. Therefore, "My son, DESPISE NOT thou the chastening of the Lord, NOR FAINT when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Heb. 12:5-6). You will not despise it if you take it directly from the Lord, you will not faint under it if you are conscious that His love is behind it and will sustain you in it.

Nothing happens to us that is not common to men. Grace has made us the sons of God, but it has not made us immune from those things which humanity suffers as a result of sin being in the world; yet we do not accept things as matters of fact that cannot be escaped and so must be endured. No: we have a great and perfect example in the Lord Jesus who, when His cup was filled to the brim with hatred and shame and suffering, said, "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink?" You will be sustained and comforted if you look upon your trial from that standpoint — if you take it from your Father's hand and watch for the blessing that must surely accompany it.

Our fathers after the flesh were interested in our welfare; they had their own ambitions for us and their own ideas as to what they wished their children to be. Sometimes we chafed under their discipline, for we were not always sure of their wisdom, but with our Father's chastening, who is all-wise and full of love, it is different. His purpose is to bring us through the world to the zenith of His own delight in us, and to the fulfilment of the purposes of His love for us, and even now He desires that we should be partakers of His holiness, He wants us near to Himself.

It should be evident to you that there are things within your heart and life that need to be checked, that there are ways that need to be corrected, that there is a persistency of will that calls for scourging. On the other hand there is His own work within you — a spiritual growth that needs to be encouraged and developed. He only knows how to effect all these things, and He will not fail, as our earthly parents often failed to secure their pleasure in us.

He wants you to be conscious of His purpose for you and to have confidence in His love. He wants you to rest in Himself, and the more you do so the more independent you will be of other sources of comfort. He will not begrudge you other comforts. Nay, He will give them to you abundantly, but He wants you to realize that He is more than them all and that when

"Other helpers fail and comforts flee,"

He, the Help of the helpless, will never leave you nor forsake you. Let the chastening be to you a proof that the Lord loves you. This will be a soft pillow for your head, and you will find in the thought that which will strengthen your faith, and the chastening itself will be preparation for your next trial, for neither you nor any of us can expect to be free from trial as long as we are in the body.

The time came in our ordinary lives when we reached our majority and we were cast upon our own resources and had to carve out our own lives. We had outgrown our childhood and the sphere of chastening by our fathers after the flesh. But this can never be so with our Father in heaven. You would shrink from claiming independence of Him. You would much rather have His will than yours, for your will would probably lead you into all sorts of foolishness and misery, while His will is good, perfect and acceptable, and seeks only your good.

If some who are suffering have to own that it is the result of their own folly and self-will, what then? Ah, there is only one way. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. Let lowly submission mark you before Him, be honest and without guile in His presence, and in His own good time — the due time when it will be good for you — He will make a way of deliverance and raise you up.

So the winter of your sorrow and trial will be followed by a wealth of summer fruit, for these wintry blasts and all these trials afterwards yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby (Heb. 12).