Has God Forgotten to Be Gracious?
The variations in the Christian's experience are often very perplexing, especially to the young Christian. Both in providence and grace, things occur the very opposite to what he expected. He forgets that he is to walk by faith — and not by sight; and therefore he falls to reasoning. This misleads him, and increases the gloom around him, so that he falls to questioning all that God has wrought within him, or spoken to him in his holy word. At times he sinks as low as Asaph did, and asks, "Has God forgotten to be gracious?" Psalm 77:9.
Let us notice WHAT THE QUESTION SUPPOSES. It supposes at least, that God was known to be gracious, and had been gracious to the soul aforetime. His grace had once been seen and enjoyed. But a change had taken place, and the party was now sorely tried either in providence or grace, or both. The hand of God was not seen, the love of God was not felt, the work of God did not appear. Satan takes advantage of this, and plies the soul with temptations, while unbelief works powerfully within. The aspect of everything is now changed — and the soul walks in darkness having no light. Wrong views of God are taken, portions of Scripture are misapplied, the design of providence is mistaken — and the soul is cast down and troubled!
This leads to THE INTERROGATION ITSELF. "Has God forgotten to be gracious?" Strange question this, for a believer to ask. What — the Lord forget his child? Impossible! Mothers may forget their offspring — but what says the Lord? "Yet, I will never forget you." What — forget his covenant, in which He pledges his word, that he will not turn away from you from doing of you good? What, forget his promise? No, he still says, "O Israel, you shall not be forgotten by me!"
Can God change his nature? He is naturally gracious. Can God break his engagement? His word is, "I will be very gracious unto you at the voice of your cry; when I shall hear — I will answer." Can God deny his name? It is, "Gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and in truth." But if not — then why ask such a question?
You say perhaps, "Needs pinch me. Men oppress me. Means fail me. No answers to prayer are given me. God appears to neglect me. Providence seems to have turned against me. The Comforter that should relieve my soul — is far from me. The work of God is at a stand-still, both within me and around me. Can it then be any wonder, that I ask: Has God forgotten to be gracious?"
THE REPLY. No, God has not forgotten, grace is at the bottom of all that you complain of. His delays are gracious. The hiding of his face is in mercy. He intends . . .
to try — and then revive your grace;
to quicken you in prayer — and then answer your petitions;
to enhance the value of your mercies — and lead you to prize them more;
to make you of use to others — and your experience a blessing to your fellow believers.
He will allow Satan to pursue you for a time — and then he will signally confound him. He intends to stir you up to more energetic efforts in his cause, for the glory of his name, and the spread of his truth.
God is naturally and unchangeably, gracious!
He may change his dealings — but nothing shall change his nature. He may act differently to what he did — but his heart remains unchangeably the same. The sun of grace does not always shine. But though it does not always shine on you — it is still in the heavens and shines on others; and the cloud that now prevents its rays reaching you, will soon pass away. Though it is dark now — it will be light soon. Darkness is but for the night — joy comes in the morning. Wait awhile, believe and pray, and soon, very soon — the light of joy and peace will shine upon you!