When God thwarts, afflicts, and mortifies
(William S. Plumer, "A
Treatise on Providence" 1865)
Men are so ignorant of their own hearts that they are incapable
of determining what is best for them. Even regenerate men are
but partially sanctified and enlightened. But God searches the
heart. He understands our whole case. He knows what is most
for our good. He sees our strong corruptions and sad deficiencies.
When, in mercy to His child, He comes to heal his spiritual maladies,
He does not take counsel with human reasoning or desires. It is right,
it is best that He should act according to the wisdom which is
He employs the requisite remedies. Often they are distasteful to flesh
and blood. Sometimes they are frightful to contemplate, and terrible
Then man, in his ignorance, too often says, "If God loved me--He
would not give me so bitter a cup to drink!" But this is man's folly.
Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Shall human weakness
control divine power? Shall finite knowledge prescribe to omniscience?
It is the height of wickedness for a worm of the dust--to
decisions, or pre-judge the justice of the Almighty. We would expect
that God would deal with us in an incomprehensible way--if we did but
remember how base, sordid, and narrow are our views and plans; and
how holy, glorious, and eternal are His purposes and designs.
We are quite prone to magnify both the good and evil things of time
--to the disparagement of those of eternity. But when
afflicts, and mortifies us--He makes us look at the things
unseen and eternal. If He racks this body with pain--it is that we may
think of our house, not made with hands, eternal, and in the heavens.
The shaking of this clay tabernacle forces upon us the recollection that
this present world is not our rest--and that we ought to be seeking a
heavenly country. If the godliest man on earth had his own way without
divine guidance--he would soon be in full march towards destruction!
How kind is God in wisely and mercifully deciding so many things
for us! God very mercifully marks out our course for us. God is
governor. We are servants. To us belong obedience, submission,
acquiescence. It is not ours . . .
to decide what is best,
to rule the world,
to shape the course of events.
"But who are you, O man, to talk back to
God? Shall what is formed say
to him who formed it--Why did you make me like this?" Romans