Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Mercies, though apparently delayed,
come at the appointed time


How is it that thoughts rise in my mind about the promise proving abortive? or how can I conclude that the delays of Providence are ill-timed and unkind? Yet God, notwithstanding all the risings of unbelief in my bosom—is punctual to a day.

Hence says Moses, that God brought forth the children of Israel in the "self-same day" that he had promised, and that their sojourning in the land of Egypt was completely expired. But what a groaning time did the poor Israelites undergo! Their service was with rigor, their bondage was bitter, their oppression unsupportable, and the cruelty of their foes had arrived at that infernal pitch, as to plunge their helpless babes into the river! At length, in this melancholy time, Moses was born; but this sad season was spun out until he was forty years old, before he hinted to his brethren that he it was that would deliver them. Yet this faint dawn of relief immediately disappears; Moses is no more to be seen or heard of in all the land of Egypt, and the night of sore affliction is protracted for another forty years. Now, what cogitations of heart, may I suppose, struggled all this time in the bosoms of Jacob's sons, in the bosom of Moses! Well he knew, in what deplorable circumstances he had left his brethren, nor knew he how their bondage might be increased in his absence; yet, in the account of their glorious deliverance, he confesses that God was a God of truth, and that, however he seemed to delay, still his suffering people were brought forth from the iron furnace at the appointed time—and not a day later than the promise!

Have I, then, any reason to complain of days and months of delay? No! God has appointed a set time, and at the set time will remember me. And it well befits me, though the time should seem long in my view—to wait with patience for it. God has in all ages so dealt with his people—for the exercise of their graces. And these trials, like the instruments of the farmer, breaking up the fallow-ground of their heart, make them bring forth a plenteous crop of precious fruits, whence accrues an increase of glory to God, and unspeakable joy to their own souls, through the ages of eternity! And is not this more than all that can rise from the present and speedy performance of the promised blessing?

Then sit still, my soul, and calmly wait the end, wondering more that justly-deserved judgments are not immediately executed against you; than that expected blessings are for a while withheld.