(J. R. Miller, “Silent Times”)
“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are just, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75
Sometimes the ways of God do seem hard.
Our fondest hopes are crushed;
our fairest joys fade like summer flowers;
the desires of our hearts are withheld from us.
Yet, if we are God’s children, we believe that a blessing is hidden in every one of these losses or denials. Right here, we get a glimpse into the mystery of many unanswered prayers. The things we seek, would not work good for us in the end–but evil. The things we plead to have removed–are essential to our highest interests.
Health is supposed to be better than sickness–but there comes a time when God’s kindness will be most wisely shown–by denying us health. He never takes pleasure in causing us to suffer; He is touched by our sorrows. Yet He loves us too well, to give us things that would harm us, or to spare us the trial that is needful for our spiritual good. It will be seen in the end, that many of the very richest blessings of all our lives–have come to us through God’s denials, His withholdings, or His shattering of our hopes and joys.
We should never forget that the object of all of God’s dealings with His children–is to sanctify us, and make us vessels fit for His use. To this high and glorious end, our present pleasure and gratification must ofttimes be sacrificed. This isthe true key to all the mysteries of Providence. Anything that hinders entire consecration to Christ, is working us harm; and though it be our tenderest joy, it is best that it be taken away.
Prayer is not always granted, even when the heart clings with holiest affection to its most precious joy. Nothing must hinder our consecration. We should never think first of what will give us earthly joy or comfort–but of what will fit us for doing the Master’s service.
Pain is often better for us–than pleasure;
loss is often better for us–than gain;
sorrow is often better for us–than joy;
disaster is often better for us–than deliverance.
Faith should know that God’s withholdings from us, when He does not give what we ask–are richer blessings than were He to open to us all His treasure-houses at whose doors we stand and knock with so great vehemence. Our unanswered prayers have just as real and as blessed answer–as those which bring what we seek.
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