A Brief Meditation for the Month

March 2022

Speaking from personal experience, David, “the sweet Psalmist of Israel,” testified: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all,” Psalm 34:19. Many and varied indeed are the trials and troubles that afflict the Lord’s dear people as they make their pilgrimage through this world. However godly and holily they may endeavour to live their lives by divine grace, they are not exempt from the troubles common to men, including those who follow the Saviour. While many today spend their time and energy in pursuit of “the good life”, the children of God pursue and seek to cultivate a holy life: spiritual life in Christ. They understand, however, that their union with Christ requires cross-bearing, Mark 8:34, and this experience is painful, and even at times, agonizingly so. Nevertheless, while the ungodly and those who reject Christ, living only for this world, have no prospect of a better future when they leave it, the afflicted believer knows that after this life, with its accompanying troubles, they shall “be with Christ; which is far better,” Philippians 1:23.

For the Lord’s afflicted children, the day is approaching when “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away,” Revelation 21:4. This hope, based upon the unfailing promises of God, sustains them and enables them to maintain a proper perspective on this present life. We see the ground for this in the words of Paul the apostle when he wrote to the Corinthian Church. He advised afflicted believers as to the reason why they should not faint or despair. He wrote: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal,” 2Corinthians 4:16–18. The godly Samuel Rutherford, who had many trials throughout his life and ministry, was able to say: “Whenever I find myself in the cellar of affliction, I always look about for the wine.” He knew from experience that there were rich spiritual blessings to be obtained even when he was suffering, that the eye of faith alone was able to see. When we turn to the eleventh chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, we read the recorded evidence of the overcoming, triumphant faith of ordinary men and women like ourselves. Like them, we can place our faith in the all-wise God who is faithful to his people who commit themselves with confidence into his tender care, like John Calvin, who said, “My heart I give thee, Lord, eagerly and entirely.” Whatever it is that holds our affection is that upon which our hearts are truly focused, and it is that which gives us most pleasure, joy, peace, and satisfaction in this life. If the Lord Jesus Christ is our Saviour, we ought to find great personal pleasure in following him. Just as the Psalmist, in Psalm twenty-three, was at peace whether his shepherd led him to the green pastures and beside the still waters, or through the valley of the shadow of death, so the trusting child of God is content with God’s divine leading under all circumstances. When a Christian can honestly say, “He leadeth me,” they have the confidence that all is well and will end well. They shall arrive safely home to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Here they may walk under dark clouds, wade through deep water, struggle over the most difficult terrain, but they rest by faith in the divine, loving care of the great shepherd until he brings them through all difficulties, safely home to be with himself.

G. G. Hutton.