Friday, August 31, 2007

The Character of God is our Comfort

We have known full well the trials of life! Thank God we have, for what would any of us be worth, if we had no troubles? Troubles, like files, take away our rust; like furnaces, they consume our dross; like winnowing-fans they drive away the chaff, and we should have had but little value, we should have had but little usefulness, if we had not been made to pass through the furnace. But in all our troubles we have found the character of God a comfort.

You have been poor — very poor: I know some of you here have been out of work a long time, and you have wondered where your bread would come from, even for the next meal. Now what has been your comfort? Have you not said, “God is too good to let me starve; he is too bountiful to let me want.” And so, you see, you have found his character to be your strong tower. Or else you have had personal sickness; you have long lain on the bed of weariness, tossing to and fro, and then the temptation has come into your heart to be impatient: “God has dealt hardly with you,” so the Evil One whispers; but how do you escape? Why you say, “No, he is no tyrant, I know him to be a sympathizing God.” “In all their afflictions he was afflicted, the angel of his presence saved them.” Or else you have had losses — many losses, and you have been apt to ask, “How can these things be? How is it I have to work so long and plod so hard, and have to look about me with all my wits to earn but little, and yet when I have made money it melts? I see my wealth, like a flock of birds upon the fields, here one moment and gone the next, for a passer by claps his hand, and everything takes to itself wings and flies away.” Then we are apt to think that God is unwise to let us toil for naught; but, lo, we run into our strong tower, and we feel it cannot be. No; the God who sent this affliction could not have acted in a thoughtless, reckless, wisdomless manner; there must be something here that shall work for my good. You know, brethren, it is useless for me to attempt to describe the various ways in which your trials come; but I am sure they that know Jehovah’s name will put their trust in him.

Perhaps your trial has been want, and then you have said, “His name is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide;” or else you have been banished from friends, perhaps from country, but you have said, “Ah! his name is Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord is there;” or else you have had a disturbance in your family; there has been war within, and war without, but you have run into your strong tower, for you have said, “His name is Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord send peace;” or else the world has slandered you, and you yourself have been conscious of sin, but you have said, “His name is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness,” and so you have gone there, and been safe; or else many have been your enemies, then his name has been “Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord my banner;” and so he has been a strong tower to you. Defy, then, brethren — defy, in God’s strength, tribulations of every sort and size.

From a sermon entitled "Our Stronghold," delivered October 26, 1862.

Photo by Lida Rose; some rights reserved.

No comments: