For Days of Trial

"Whom the Lord loves He chastens" (Hebrews 12:5-11)

I was greatly impressed when a young Christian by hearing a dear saint of God, whom I knew to be a great sufferer, say, "I feel that I must be a special object of the Father's loving interest, for I receive so much chastisement." Suffering and trial are not generally received in such a spirit, but it is just thus that they are spoken of in Hebrews 12. And I could not help but notice how quietly and trustfully and happily that dear child of God lived her life in marked contrast to many who seemed to look upon every trial as an evil thing.

But what made her accept her trials in such a spirit and interpret them so happily? Simply this, she read the Word of God, AND BELIEVED IT. She did not question it, but received it with the simplicity of a child. It could not deceive her. Hebrews 12 was her Father's word to her, as well as every other part of Scripture, and so she quietly accepted all as proof of His interest in her, and consequently her trials yielded to her the peaceable fruits of righteousness.

Would that we all accepted God's words with the same simplicity. What comfort the Scriptures would yield us if we did, and this scripture in particular, in these days when trials are pressing more or less upon all. What comfort it would give you, dear reader, in your trial, if you realized that it is because you are a child, a son, in the tender hands of an all-wise Father that you are passing through trial at all, that your Father has your everlasting profit in view in all that He permits you to pass through, and that He wants you now to be a PARTAKER OF HIS HOLINESS. And the nearer you walk with Him the more He must correct those things in you which are not suitable to His company. He wants you to walk with Him as Enoch did, to be His friend as Abraham was, to know that He loves you even as He loves His well-beloved Son. He wants you to understand His bright designs for your present and ultimate good, and to trust His heart even when you cannot understand His ways. If you enter into this you will fret and fume no more, but you will raise your thanksgiving psalm to Him for the love that is as real and true in the days of storm and stress as in the quiet days of sunshine and repose. Plainly is it stated in Hebrews 12 that chastisement is a proof of the Father's loving interest in us. Let us believe it and submit ourselves thankfully to the Father of spirits and live.


"I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless,
  Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
  I triumph still if Thou abide with me."

At one of the big training depots I recently met a Christian man of forty, who in subjection to the authorities had left home and wife and family for military service. The change from a comfortable home and easy life to the hardships and trials of a soldier's training told heavily upon him. His drill sergeant was neither considerate nor polite, and seemed to take a special delight in abusing him, until the strain became almost unbearable. One morning on parade he felt that he had come to the breaking point, and cried out in his heart to the Lord, "O Lord, speak to me, for I cannot bear this any longer." At once he got his answer. Clearer and more distinct than the rough profanity of the sergeant the words sounded in his very soul, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." He told me that that was all he needed, and nothing had been a burden to him since. The circumstances were the same, but the sense of the Lord's presence with him had made all the difference. He could pass through the trials serenely and without irritation now because of the blessedness of the company in which he lived and walked.

But the words are in the sacred Scriptures for you and for me, dear reader, as much as for him, and we may read them AND BELIEVE THEM and draw that most blessed comfort that they yield to all who do believe them. Shall we honour the Lord by doing so, or dishonour Him by acting like abandoned orphans for whom He has neither love nor care? Let us take the words as they stand and joyfully sing, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, FOR THOU ART WITH ME. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."