My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
God hedges in His own that He may preserve them, but oftentimes they only see the wrong side of the hedge, and so misunderstand His dealings. It was so with Job (Job 3:23). Ah, but Satan knew the value of that hedge! See his testimony in chapter 1:10. Through the leaves of every trial there are chinks of light to shine through. Thorns do not prick you unless you lean against them, and not one touches without His knowledge. The words that hurt you, the letter which gave you pain, the cruel wound of your dearest friend, shortness of money—are all known to Him, who sympathizes as none else can and watches to see, if, through all, you will dare to trust Him wholly.
“The hawthorn hedge that keeps us from intruding,
Looks very fierce and bare
When stripped by winter, every branch protruding
Its thorns that would wound and tear.
“But spring-time comes; and like the rod that budded,
Each twig breaks out in green;
And cushions soft of tender leaves are studded,
Where spines alone were seen,
“The sorrows, that to us seem so perplexing,
Are mercies kindly sent
To guard our wayward souls from sadder vexing,
And greater ills prevent.
“To save us from the pit, no screen of roses
Would serve for our defense,
The hindrance that completely interposes
Stings back like thorny fence.
“At first when smarting from the shock, complaining
Of wounds that freely bleed,
God’s hedges of severity us paining,
May seem severe indeed.
“But afterwards, God’s blessed spring-time cometh,
And bitter murmurs cease;
The sharp severity that pierced us bloometh,
And yields the fruits of peace.
“Then let us sing, our guarded way thus wending
Life’s hidden snares among,
Of mercy and of judgment sweetly blending;
Earth’s sad, but lovely song.”