Comfort for the Tried.

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
MANY of the Lord's dear people, like those of old, are "weary because of the way." The wilderness is a trying place. It was so for Israel. Even Paul speaks of being "pressed out of measure above strength." "Without were fightings, within were fears." At such times we are apt to get disconsolate and perhaps to despair.
Every heart knows its own sorrow. There are thorns in every pathway. God is too faithful to allow it to be otherwise in a world where Christ has been rejected. Now some are more ready to speak about their peculiar trials than others, but when hidden they are none the less deep and real.
It will help to comfort and sustain the soul if we remember that the blessed Lord has trod the path of sorrow and suffering here. This has fitted Him to sympathize with and to succor -His poor tried people in their wilderness circumstances.
No one ever knew disappointment, grief, or sorrow to such an extent as He. No one was ever so misunderstood, maligned, and hated. Yet He ever went on serving God and man.
For all the hatred He returned nothing but love. For us this is most difficult. Even on the cross His moral triumph was complete when, amidst the deepest suffering from a nation that He served so unweariedly, He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
What was it that sustained the blessed Lord and enabled Him to endure betrayal, denial, desertion, malice, envy, hatred, and scorn of every kind? How can we account for such a life, the like of which was never lived, and the moral superiority of which has even confounded infidels?
Was it not that He had a secret well-spring of joy in the Father's love? He was entirely alone so far as this world was concerned, "yet not alone," as He tells us. The Father's love He knew in a peculiar way, and this was everything to Him. He lived by, or "on account of the Father." This was His support under all circumstances. By this He was enabled to endure, not only what was wrong against Himself, but to show patience, meekness, and love to those who wronged Him.
Will it not be so with us in the measure in which our souls are sustained and nourished by the sense of His love to us? If we drink daily and deeply into that love, shall we not express in some little measure His virtues?
We all know we ought to be more like 'Christ. Are We not, often humbled because we feel we are not so like Him as we should be? We get impatient, and worry and fret over trifles perhaps. We groan over it in private, and the more we do so the better. But that will not give us power. Power is only derived from being in His company and learning of Himself. As our souls take in His love, we respond to it. The response is shown in a life devoted to Him.
This is what lifts the soul above difficulties, and enables us to comfort others instead of looking to be comforted ourselves. Think of His love 'to us being only measured by the Father's love to Him. There is no circumstance in our daily pathway, however trying, that His love does not enter into. He has not only told us He loves us, but He has proved it by going into death for us, that He might not only remove the judgment that rested upon us, but that He might have us as His own companions forever. Think of love so deep and strong that it could not rest without us.
Has that love changed now that He has gone above? Never. His eye is always upon us, and whatever He may allow us to pass through in the way of discipline or trial, He has nothing but our highest good and richest blessing in view.
Though He loves us perfectly, there is a great deal about us that is not suited to Him. This is why we are put through discipline. It is at this point that souls often get perplexed, and the danger of misunderstanding comes in. But we may be sure that if He calls us to pass through what is unpleasant to the flesh, His object is to remove from us what hinders our being like Him. There is no other reason. This only proves how strong and true His love is. The constant tendency of our hearts is to give place to other things, and His love cannot brook a rival.
If we do not enjoy His love as a present reality, it is, nevertheless, the same as ever. His love is like Himself. He is the unchanging One; therefore His love knows no change. Through all our stumbling, failing course, He has borne with us. Praise His blessed name; there is none like Him. If His love is not filling our hearts we either have not grasped its greatness, or are allowing something that is inconsistent and which His love cannot tolerate.
"As My Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." Obedience is the proof of our love, and involves the setting aside of the will of the flesh in us. Subjection to His holy, blessed will is the true secret of the Christian's power and blessing. Thus we abide in His love. When self-will is working all goes wrong, and we lose our enjoyment of that love, and spiritual power declines. Disobedience grieves the Spirit, who is most jealous to have us entirely for Christ. Hence His love, which is perfect, has to be shown in the way of chastening and discipline, that there may be breaking down and ultimate recovery.
Perchance some backsliding one is reading this paper, whose memory recalls the happy time when first the love of Christ was tasted in all its power and sweetness. You went on for a time in the joy and brightness of it. You thought yourself the happiest person on earth. And no wonder When first the love of Christ is tasted it makes our cup run over. It is really the beginning of heaven to us. Heaven will be the full and uninterrupted enjoyment of divine love. That will give us eternal satisfaction and delight.
Let me entreat you, dear soul, not to despair. The love that said in such yearning, tender, pleading tones, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?" is the same—yes, the very same towards you. The love that was tried by Peter's denial and remained unchanged toward Peter, is just the same to the most erring one. "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.”
Return to Him at once. Confess all your backslidings and your sins openly and honestly to Him. He will not close the door of His loving heart upon you. He will forgive you as freely as when you first came to Him. Your joy will be restored and your peace will flow like a river. You shall sing for very joy as in the days of your youth.
“And when thou art converted [restored], strengthen thy brethren." He may, perhaps, yet use you as He did Peter to help those who are in danger of backsliding, or who have backslidden like yourself. P. W.