The disciple is in God's school!
(James Buchanan, "Comfort in Affliction" 1837)
"The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" 1 Peter 3:4
The character which is so exquisitely delineated in these few simple words, is not the result of mere natural temperament or constitution — but the product of ripe and mature Christian experience. It is formed by slow degrees, under the teaching of God's Word and Spirit, and the long-continued discipline of His providence. It is lamentably defective in many, whose personal religion cannot be charitably doubted — and is seldom acquired in the earlier stages of the Christian course. It resembles the mellow flavor and sweetness of fruit which has been fully matured, and is ready to be gathered.
It is obviously a part of our piety to cherish at all times, a meek and quiet spirit towards God. His Character should secure our heartfelt reverence — and His Will should secure our quiet and unquestioning submission. We should be as little children in God's hands, regarding Him as our Father in Heaven, and feeling towards Him as a confiding child feels towards a kind parent . . .
whose worth he reveres,
whose love he cannot question, and
whose will he would not resist for the world.
The believer is called to exercise a meek and quiet spirit, in reference to all God's providential dealings towards him. In the course of God's providence, he may be raised to great prosperity — or he may be reduced to deep poverty and distress. In either case, he is still meek and quiet towards God.
But meekness is more peculiarly appropriate in the season of adversity and trial. Such seasons every Christian has experienced, and many yet expect. It is through great tribulation that we must enter the Kingdom. If all men are born to trouble — the Christian is doubly sure of his share, for "whom the Lord loves, He chastens; and scourges every son whom He receives." At such seasons, and especially if the trial is very severe, or suddenly sent, or long-continued — the disciple is in God's school, learning a practical lesson of no easy attainment — even the lesson of meekness and quietness towards God. His clearest duty is that of resigned submission, of uncomplaining acquiescence in God's will.
God's people know that every painful dispensation with which they are visited, proceeds from God's unerring wisdom and infinite love; and that it is a part of that discipline by which God is seeking to purify them, and prepare them for Heaven. He feels that God has taken the management of his case into His own hands, and by ways which seem hard or mysterious, but which are really beneficial — is seeking to "humble him, and to prove him, and to show him what is in his heart." He learns by experience — what he was slow to learn by the mere reading of the Word, however clearly it was there set before him.
And thus he comes to cherish habitually a "meek and quiet spirit" — a spirit which neither disputes the necessity, nor questions the wisdom, nor doubts the love of God's dispensations towards him — but which leads him to place himself entirely in God's hands, to be dealt with according to His good pleasure, not doubting, that "all things shall work together for good to those who love God, and are the called according to His purpose." He feels the pressure of affliction, and may even be stunned by its unexpected stroke — but still he says with the Psalmist, "I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9