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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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Letters To The Elect Of God
In A Time of Trouble






But I must not take up all my letter in writing about my letter, I must write it.

I thought I would speak to you of your own needs and troubles. Of some of them, I have already spoken. They are real and important to you, though they may seem small in the open bustle of life. You find no one to tell them to - no one to be interested in them for you. "All seek their own:" Paul found this to be the case and said it; and things are still as he described them. But though the world is unsympathetic and indifferent, it is not so in the true household of faith. The children of God are interested in one another's troubles as well as joys. By-and-by there will be nothing but the joys to be interested in - and such joys as we have not known yet.

But we are not there yet. We are getting towards there, every day a step; but as yet, it is the trouble that is with us -- trouble, the full depth and bitterness of which can only be known to each individual heart. It is all known to God. In this there is consolation, and it is a relief of mind to pour out our complaint before Him. The very act brings succour; but we may rely upon a more active help than this. Though God in His wisdom, does not permit us at this stage of His purpose on earth, to have the open responses to prayer that David and other servants had in the days of old, still there is a response - veiled and indirect, but still a response in the granting of our requests, The teaching of Christ and of the apostles justify us in this belief. Yea, actual experience oftentimes enable us to say concerning the saints even now: "They cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses;" but not until the object of the trouble is secured.

Have you ever realised all that is involved in Paul's saying, that "tribulation worketh patience?" It is a while before we see it all. Probably we shall never quite see it all till we are able to look back upon it and contemplate results from the standpoint of glory gained. But we may get a glimpse that will help endurance.

Here is what strikes reflective observation. Man is a wondrous machine of life which most men are liable to think God could have produced in a state of perfection at the start. It is vain to speculate on what God could have done. It is what He has done that is practical.

What He has done as regards ourselves is this: He has so made us that we cannot be developed into full-working vito-mentality without experience. A well-balanced mentality is the most beautiful thing in creation, but it is not produced on mechanical principles. It depends upon the action of the voluntary will, which is not chemically or mechanically controlled but by the power of idea formed as the result of experience within the subjective area of its action. There are mechanical principles at the bottom of the operation (such as bone, blood, flesh, electricity, etc.) but these only supply the foundation upon which the perfect result is to be built.

This perfect result requires the play of experience (using the word in its most comprehensive sense, as including knowledge of all kinds, whether derived from sensation, perception or information). Without experience, the mind is like a machine composed of many moving parts without unity of action or central control. Its various parts and forces want to go working and whirring on their own indi vidual accounts which brings destruction.

They require to be brought into unity, and a rightly balanced action one with another.

This cannot be done without experience, and it will be found that an indispensable part of this experience is trouble. This may excite surprise at first: but nothing excites surprise that is at last found to be true. And this will be found true. The finest characters have been ripened by trouble.

Looking back, think of Joseph, Moses, David and many others whose acquaintance we make in divinely-recorded history. Looking round among our acquaintances, if there is a man of any value as a friend and counsellor, he has come through trouble. The lap of luxury is notoriously unfavourable to the development of character. The man who has not seen trouble is necessarily more or less green. He lacks the sympathy and mental breadth that come with trouble.

How easy, therefore, in view of these almost self-evident facts, it becomes to submit to the dispensation of trouble through which it pleases God to bring His children in preparation for the exaltation of His kingdom. "Tribulation worketh patience," You can see and say, "it is a fact." Are you not therefore helped to accept the tribulation? A character without patience is a character without use to God or man. Patience that is not colorless is precious.

This is the patience that comes with impulse subdued and penetration tempered by tribulation.

It is the patience that God is working in you by all the tribulations that you endure. In this sense you can join with Paul when he said, "We glory in tribulation also." You can glory in it as an experience which, though painful for the time being, is working out for you unspeakable sweetness in the day of the perfected work.