Comfort

But he replied, “You’re talking like one of the godless women would do! Should we receive what is good from God, and not also receive what is evil?” In all this Job did not sin by what he said.

[Job 2:10 NET]

So often weak faith is moved from its steadfastness, by trials. People say, “God cannot love me–or he would not send this affliction upon me!” Job’s answer, however, shows nobler faith. We take good, earthly good, from God’s hands. We believe that God loves us–so long as he showers upon us favors, and gives us pleasant things, joys and prosperities. Very well. But when he changes the form of his providence, and gives us troubles instead of favors, should we conclude that he no longer loves us?

In the case of the change in his treatment of Job–we are permitted to look within the heart of God, to learn what his feelings were, and we see that he had never loved his servant more than when he was allowing him to suffer so sorely!

At the close of the first trial, Job said, “The Lord gave–and the Lord has taken away.” The same Lord who gave—took away! Yes, and the same love! God knows best, what we need any particular day, and what will most advance the kingdom of Christ; and we ought to trust him so implicitly, so unquestioningly, that whether he gives a new favor–or takes one away; whether he grants us our request–or withholds it; whether he bestows upon us earthly good–or causes us to suffer loss and adversity—we shall still believe and say, “God loves me, and he is blessing me!”

“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return! The Lord gave–and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21

Comfort

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil. And he still holds firmly to his integrity, so that you stirred me up to destroy him without reason.”

[Job 2:3 NET]

It is a noble thing, when a man stands steadfast and faithful to God in the midst of trials and adversities. Such a man is like a mighty rock under the beatings of the angry waves of the sea.

Thus Job stood. Trial after trial came. His property was swept away by marauders and by fire, and his children were crushed by falling walls, until in a little while he was stripped of all he had, and left a childless man! His heart was broken with sorrow–but his faith failed not. The Lord kept his eye upon his servant, and was pleased to see how trustingly he endured his losses and sorrows.

The affliction of Job, as described here from the divine side, suggests to us, what may ofttimes be the reason for trouble in the lives of God’s children. Job suffered in order to prove to a scoffing adversary, the genuineness of his religion. Job did not know why these sore losses came upon him. Likewise, we do not know, when we are in trouble, why God sends or permits the affliction. But we should always bear ourselves so as to honor God, and prove the reality and sincerity of our faith. We are set to witness to the power of divine grace in trial, and should not fail God nor disappoint him. No duty of ours is more sacred–than being true to God in pain and trouble. To murmur or complain—is to sin.

Comfort

So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!”

[John 6:34 NET]

That was a good prayer. It is just the prayer for each one of us–every day! But the people who made it first, did not know what they were asking.

It is often so in our praying. We have a dim, glimmering vision of something very beautiful–but it is only a shadowy vision to us. The thing we think we want, is not the thing at all that God had in mind in his promise. He meant something most worthy–but we have in our mind the thought of something material and earthly. It is well that we have an Intercessor into whose hands all our requests must pass, who will take our poor, mistaken prayers–and interpret them aright for us, giving us, not what we thought we would get–but something better, diviner!

Abraham sought all his life, for a country which he never received. But he got something better in his unavailing search–his faith was growing all the while; his thoughts and hopes were turned to spiritual things, of which the earthly possessions he sought were only shadows. So it is in the disappointments of our praying: what we seek–we find not—but meanwhile we are getting blessings a thousand times better. On weary paths of earth where we toil in search of supposed blessings, we are really rising step by step on invisible stairs, and reaching blessings of which the earthly illusions were only pictures.

Comfort

Then the king and his men advanced to Jerusalem against the Jebusites who lived in the land. The Jebusites said to David, “You cannot invade this place! Even the blind and the lame will turn you back, saying, ‘David cannot invade this place!’”

[2 Sam 5:6 NET]

The Jebusites still held a stronghold in the heart of the country, never having been dislodged. There are ‘Jebusites’ in every Christian community, and also in every Christian heart. For example, there is worldliness, which has its Jebusites everywhere.

In the midst of a community containing its beautiful Christian homes, sanctuaries, and refinements, one finds a licensed drinking-saloon. It is so entrenched there, too, that it seems impossible to dislodge it. There are many other such citadels of evil, which rear their proud towers and defy conquest.

In every heart, there are little ‘Jebusite strongholds’, which it seems impossible for us to conquer. Sometimes it is a secret sin which lives on, unconquered, amid the general holiness of a life. Sometimes it is a remnant of the old nature–such as pride, worldliness, selfishness, lust, or bitterness.

“We all have our faults!” we say, and under this ‘cloak‘–we manage to tuck away a large number of dear idols that we do not want to give up!

We ought to give attention to these unsubdued parts of our life–that every thought, feeling, and temper may be brought into subjection to Christ. It is perilous to leave even one such unconquered stronghold in our heart. “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ!” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Comfort

The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end. They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant!

[Lam 3:22-23 NET]

It is the glory of God’s love, that it is always fresh and new. It is never the same in its expression in any two days. We have to patch up our old things and keep them, using them again and again; but God never does. He never gives us the old leaves a second time; each spring, every tree gets new foliage, new garments of beauty. He does not revive last year’s withered flowers, and give them to us again for this year; he gives us new flowers for each summer.

So he does with his messages of love; they are not repeated over and over again, always the same old ones. Every time the reverent heart reads the Bible, its words come fresh from the lips of God, always new. They never get old. They are like the water that bubbles up in living streams from the depths in the wayside spring–always fresh, sweet, and new.

So it is with the blessings of prayer. Morning by morning we kneel before God, seeking his blessing and favor. He does not give us always the same blessing–but has a new one ready for each new day. Our needs are not the same any two mornings when we bow before him, and he always suits the blessing to the need. We are taught to live day by day. God’s goodness comes to us new every morning.

Comfort

You are my hiding place; you protect me from distress. You surround me with shouts of joy from those celebrating deliverance. (Selah)

[Ps 32:7 NET]

God is a hiding-place from all sorts of dangers. He is a hiding-place from sin. His mercy is an eternal refuge. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

God is a refuge from trouble. “God had one Son without sin–but he has none without sorrow.” Where shall we go to get away from sorrow? There is no place on earth into which it never enters, no Eden bower, no Paradise, where grief never, comes. But there is a hiding-place to which sorrowing ones can flee, and where they will find comfort that shall give them peace. “In the world you shall have troubles; in Me you shall have peace,” said Jesus. The sorrow may not be shut out–but the divine peace comes into the heart and calms it. Sorrow is seen then, as God’s messenger of love, sent by him on some good errand, and is accepted in faith. So in the pain and loss–there is no more fear. The sufferer has found a hiding-place in God.

God is a hiding-place from danger. In the wildest terrors and alarms–we can run to Him, and, lying down in his bosom, be safe. A Christian sailor said that even if his ship went down into the sea–he would be safe; for God holds the waters in the hollow of his hand, and he would only fall into his Father’s hand.

Comfort

Now take your positions, so I may confront you before the Lord regarding all the Lord’s just actions toward you and your ancestors.

[1 Sam 12:7 NET]

It is good to stand still sometimes, and look back over the way by which God has led us. Of one thing we may always be sure–all God’s dealings with us are right. Some of them may seem hard. We all have our trials, disappointments, sorrows, sufferings, our cups of bitterness. There is no way in which we can see goodness in all these experiences, except by faith in the unfailing righteousness of God. Yet a firm conviction of this truth brings peace in the darkest hour. God cannot be unloving. He is our Father.

It does us good to stand still before God at times, and look back over our life–and see all our experiences in the light of the love that streams from his face. We cannot understand when all seems mysterious and dark; yet we know God is righteous, and righteousness is goodness. If we firmly believe this all through life, whatever may come, faith will live, and its light will shine as a bright star in the blackest midnight.