"He stays His rough wind, in the day of the east
This is a comforting verse to those who, in a figurative sense, are exposed to the swoop of the desert simoom. Come, sorrowing one, and calmly meditate on the blessed promise, here given under expressive imagery, that God will never allow your trials or His chastisements to go too far.
It is the "rough wind" and the "east wind" that may now be visiting you. Seated in thought, or in reality, by your early grave, and musing on your blighted blossom, you can too truly say, "As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone!" (Ps. 103:15, 16).
The Almighty does not conceal that it is He who sends the tempest. It is specially spoken of and designated by the prophet as "His rough wind." In the blighting of Jonah's gourd, the picture we have so often had occasion to refer to, we are told, "The LORD prepared a vehement east wind." In the bold and sublime language of the Psalmist, He is similarly represented as "walking on the wings of the wind." So too in moral hurricanes. "Who knows not in all these things, that the hand of the Lord has wrought this?"
But (and this is the more special truth which claims our attention), if that east wind blows, He will not allow it to sweep too vehemently—and when it receives its mission from Him, He will not allow "the rough wind" to be let loose at the same time from its chambers. He will moderate adversity. "He knows our frame." According to the common proverb, "He will temper the wind to the shorn lamb." He did not make Israel feel at once and at the same time lack of bread and lack of water. The manna had been provided when they were suffering from the deprivation of the other priceless boon.
Look at the first clause of the somewhat enigmatical words which form part of the verse which heads this chapter—"In measure you will debate with it." "In measure!" Or, as in another place, "I will correct you in measure" (Jer. 30:11). God has no capricious dealings. All will be scrupulously weighed. He CONSIDERS the soul in adversity (Ps. 31:7). "When He winnows," as Matthew Henry says, "He sends a gentle gale to blow away the chaff, not to blow away the corn."
Who cannot testify to the truth of the gracious assertion? Is it the hour of bereavement?—and specially the hour and experience, reader, which comes most tenderly and impressively home to you—the time when, above all others, the east wind may be said to blow, nipping early spring-buds or blighting tender blossoms? Who has not then to tell of amazing support? Some sweet solaces which have gone far to moderate the sweep of the hurricane, break the cruel blow, and disarm trial of much of its severity? Glimpses appear in the midst of the darkness—blue vistas are seen opening in the storm-wreathed sky!
We believe all can own and trace these tender mitigations—the prevention of the two winds from blowing simultaneously—God not allowing the bruised reed to be broken, just because it was bruised—laying on with one hand, comforting and binding up with the other—sending whatever wind is needed to bring to the desired haven, not one blast permitted but what is needed. "He will not allow us to be tempted (tried) above that we are able to bear, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13). "Blessed be God," says Chrysostom, "who permitted the tempest; and blessed be God who has dispersed it and made it a calm."
Bereaved parents! we ask again, have you not been able—in some cases more perhaps than in others—to trace all this in the dying couches of your beloved children? The gracious alleviations of pain; the tender farewell words, sacredly garnered by you, which tended to reconcile to the pang of departure; the unexpected sympathies and solaces, it may be, of friends and fellow-sufferers; above all, those Divine comforts and consolations—stars of promise—never before seen in the light of garish day, but with which the dark night of sorrow has studded your skies?
Yes! and while owning the truth of the words of our meditation regarding your beloved dead, may you not transfer, by anticipation, their comfort to yourselves? When that supreme hour which has come to them comes to you—when you, too, are laid on your death-couch—when the tent is about to be struck for prosecuting the mysterious journey—death, the hour that thousands on thousands have shrunk from and dreaded—yes! the hour which none can contemplate without profound emotion; yet when it does come—when the house of the earthly tabernacle rocks and trembles under the blasts of that inexorable 'east wind,' be assured you will find the Great Promiser true to His declaration. The 'rough wind' is stayed. You may feel the rush of the final hurricane, but you will rise above it with the glorious compensating supports and comforts then given. In that solemn season the eyes of many of God's children, dimming to human smiles, have had revealed to them a Mightier Presence, which the gathering darkness only renders more visible. When those around can think, perhaps, only of the terribleness of grappling with the tempest which in a few moments will reduce to a heap of ruins; with their last breath they have risen above the storm, and in trembling accents given some such testimony as this—'Hush your fears! I am walking through the Dark Valley, but HE is giving me dying grace for a dying hour'—"He stays His rough wind in the day of the east wind!"