James Smith, 1842
"The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing. You will make all His bed in His sickness." Psalm 41:3
The Lord has nowhere promised that His people shall be preserved from sickness, pain, and languishing; but He has very graciously promised to be with them, to strengthen them, and to administer consolation to them. This promise is more especially made to the liberal, to those who are kind to the poor, especially the Lord's poor. Jesus takes what is done to His poor saints, as done to Himself, and says, "You did it unto me." Matthew 25:40. But at the same time it is the common property of believers, for all the promises are in Christ Jesus; and become ours by believing in Him.
Your weakness may be great — but the Lord here promises
to strengthen you on your bed. Instead then of complaining to creatures —
turn to your God, and plead the precious promise He has made. He made it, on
purpose that you may . . .
draw comfort from it;
plead it at His throne;
and expect its fulfillment.
Call upon Him to . . .
strengthen your faith,
increase your patience,
and make your bed.
Sickness is the breaking out of one of the effects of sin. It reminds you of your true character, and points you to the Lord Jesus — who alone can deliver you from its consequences. Every pain reminds you that you are a sinner — and should endear to your heart the person, blood-shedding, intercession, and promises of Jesus! He can enable you to bear with fortitude the greatest pain, and make you passive under the heaviest trial.
Do you now feel exceedingly weak? Is the bed hard and
tiresome? Think upon your mercies! You have . . .
a kind Savior,
a place of abode,
friends to attend upon you, and
a prospect of everlasting happiness before you!
God is now with you, and will not lay upon you more than you are able to bear; but will prove to you before He is done — that He is gracious and merciful, full of compassion, and plenteous in goodness and truth. Whoever may forsake you, or prove unkind to you — He never will. But He will make all His goodness pass before you; and perhaps this very sickness is a prelude to some peculiar blessing. The valley of Achor, or trouble, is often the door of hope; and the Lord gives us our vineyards from thence, and causes us to sing there. Hosea 2:14-16.
Do not listen to the insinuations of Satan; pay no attention to the objections of unbelief, drawn from your sufferings or difficulties; but remember God is faithful, and He has said, "I will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing; I will make all His bed in His sickness; nevertheless for these things I will be inquired of, to do it for them."
Turn then to His throne, again plead with Him as a man pleads with His friend, and you shall have to say, "In the day when I cried, you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul." Look not too much at what you are — but at what Jesus is. Do not dwell on your miseries — but on God's mercies. Do not be discouraged because you are weak, for your God shall be your strength. "He gives power to the faint, and to those who have no might He increases strength." Be of good courage, therefore, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
How gracious and how wise,
Is our chastising God!
And oh! how rich the blessings are
Which blossom from His rod.
He lifts it up on high
With pity in His heart,
That every stroke His children feel,
May grace and peace impart.
Dear Father! we consent,
To discipline divine;
And bless the pain that makes our souls
Still more completely Thine.