Should we not be prepared to kiss it?
(Jared Waterbury, "Meditations and Prayers" 1840)
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28
The believer, when smarting under the rod of temporal distress — is often ready to say with Jacob, "All these things are against me!" Owing to the weakness of his faith, he concludes that "God has forgotten him." He forgets that "Whom the Lord loves, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives" — that his Lord once said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." To sink down under troubles, and conclude that there is no relief for us — is to distrust our Father's care — and to doubt His everlasting love for us.
It may not seem good to God, who orders each event of our lives — to grant us the prosperity which we naturally desire. He may discover in us so much remaining depravity — developed in the forms of pride, sensuality, or self-seeking — as to make it necessary to visit us with the rod of correction. When that rod is intended to extirpate these sins — should we not be prepared to kiss it? Is not God's rod designed to wean us from the world — and to drive us more closely to the bosom of eternal love? "All things" — including of course these very trials and afflictions — God causes to work together for our good.
Are we sick and suffering in body? Let us not despair. The affliction shall work for our good. Relief will come in due time. Or if the sickness "be unto death," God can make it conducive to a calm or triumphant departure.
Are you poor, and apprehensive that your needs may not be supplied? O trust in your Father's care, who will "withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly."
Do enemies beset your path? God can change the bitterest of them into friends — or can defend and deliver you from their ire.
And what though all these afflictions press upon the soul at once — even then the promise is not nullified — it is only made the more precious!
Doubt not that His mercy is in your every trial and affliction.
And always remember, that when Heaven is attained, these sorrows will be felt no more forever!
How precious, O God, are Your promises! They apply to us, your sinful and suffering children, under all circumstances. You have declared, that all of us must be partakers of chastisement. You have promised that the way to Your abode is rough and thorny. Why, then, should we fear to walk in it? Why wish to tread a smooth and easy path? We desire that measure of faith which shall recognize Your direct agency in every event of our lives!
O Lord, whatever be our earthly lot, joyous or sad — one sweet promise shall gild the darkest hours of our existence. We shall be cheered by the thought that You cause all things to work together for our good! And when we have done and suffered Your will on earth — we shall be admitted to Your glory, to see Your face and to sing Your praises forever. Amen.