Food for Faith
James Smith, 1855
"I will be with him in trouble." Psalm 91:15
WithWHOM will God be in times of trouble? There are four characteristic marks in the context by which the heirs of this promise may be known.
First, They know the Lord's name. The Spirit has taught it to them. They have learned it from the Bible. They have so learned it as to trust in it. It is their strong tower. Their powerful plea. The object of their faith, and the subject of their meditation.
Second, They have set their love upon God. He has
been revealed to them as lovely. They have seen him in Jesus. His love has
been shed abroad in their hearts. They love him . . .
for what he has done for them;
for what he has conferred upon them;
for what he has promised them;
and because he is altogether lovely.
Third, They have made the Lord their refuge and their habitation. He is to them what the place of safety is to the trembling dove; what the commodious, comfortable, and well-stored dwelling is to the happy inhabitant. They dwell in God by faith. They dwell with God in holy fellowship.
Fourth, They dwell in the secret — or in secret with
the Most High. He is with them. They . . .
walk with him;
pour out their hearts before him;
and enjoy free communion with him.
He will be with them.
WHENwill God be with His people? In trouble. He will not keep them from trouble; but he will meet with them and bless them in it. The favorites of Heaven are exposed to many troubles — social, physical, domestic, relative, personal. The promise refers . . .
Christian, you must not expect to escape trouble — you were born to it. It was appointed for you. It is part of your heritage. Troubles are covenant blessings. They may be bitter — but they are beneficial. They may wound the flesh — but they heal the spirit. The worldling may repine at them — but the Christian should only seek to be benefitted by them.
Are you in trouble? All the saints have been tried — why, then, should you expect to escape? The way to the kingdom is not carpeted with velvet — but it is lined with tribulation. Our God has consulted our welfare — not our whims. His object is declared, to make us partakers of his holiness. The end is worthy of himself, and may well lead us to bow before him, saying, "The cup which my Heavenly Father gives me — shall I not drink it?"
In the prospect of trouble he speaks to us, and says — "I will be with him in trouble." Can we desire more?
If the Lord be with us, however boisterous the ocean, or terrible the storm — we can never sink. He will uphold us with his hand.
If he is with us, we should not fret or give way to fear, or spend our time in complaining. Such conduct is highly inconsistent; for if God is with us, our troubles will be sanctified, and will only do us good, producing "the peaceable fruits of righteousness."
If he is with us in our troubles — he will embitter sin to us, which is the direct or indirect cause of all our griefs. Sin being embittered — the Savior will be endeared, and become more precious to us than before. The world will lose the false glare by which it is surrounded, and appear vile and worthless — in comparison with spiritual and eternal things. Grace will become more desirable, and we shall seek it with more earnestness and importunity. We shall be more careful to please God, and more fearful of offending him.
We shall look well to our evidences, perceiving that what may satisfy in the sunshine — will not be sufficient in the storm; what may do for health and strength, will not do for sickness and death.
The troubles of time, if sanctified — will strip eternity of its gloomy covering, and make thoughts of Heaven truly delightful.
If God promises to be with us in trouble, it is to produce such effects as these — and such results are worthy of God.
Beloved, if troubles come — God sends them. Their nature, number, weight, and duration — are all arranged by his infinite wisdom, and appointed by his eternal love. If your God sends trouble — he himself will accompany it. Expect him to be with you. Look to find him near. He sits by the furnace as the Refiner; or walks with his people in the midst of it as their Friend.
In every trouble — he will sustain and comfort you. His faithful Word assures you, that "he will be with you in six troubles, and in seven he will not forsake you." Through trouble he will fit you for his kingdom, and lead you to his glorious rest.
Are you in sore troubles at this moment? God is with you. He strengthens you, if he does not comfort you. He superintends the whole process of your purification. He will do you good — only good. Cleave to him. Rest upon his Word. Plead the finished work of Jesus. Fear nothing but sin. Seek personal sanctification before everything else, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Seize the promise. Hold it last. With it resist Satan. In the confidence of its fulfillment meet every trial, and say: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."