The more patient the believer is in trials, the more is learned concerning God’s work of manifesting Himself to the believer and to others. Thus it will be understood that “enduring hardness” (2 Tim 2:3) increases faith in His Romans 8:28 proclamation, which more importantly, results in joyously admitting that manifesting God supersedes the “the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Cor 1:4), which without failure proceeds every trial. “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (2 Cor 1:5).
There is nothing that can transpire in the life of the believer that God has not already foreseen in omniscience (from eternity past), and “worked together” for “good” in omnipotence (from eternity past); and this regardless of our understanding (we live by faith and not explanations), or if we go through confused, kicking and screaming.
As believers we should know the wonderful blessings, and portion of light and joy we are brought into; instead of going through the world trying to overcome this and that (esp. self, society and Satan, which are already overcome in the believer; John 16:33--NC), and saying, I must give up this thing and the other. It is not a question of giving up at all; but I have something better, greater, brighter – and I let it drop. Now, it is not necessarily deliverance from trial, but superiority to it that the Lord Jesus gives us. The old way was to put people in the furnace and they were not burnt; they were put into the lion’s den and they were not touched; but now they go into the furnace and are burnt to a cinder, the lions eat them up, and they never give in. Now, it is not power for them, but power in them.
I come to a wall and I say I would like to have a door here. The Lord says, “If I were simply for you I would make one, but I am in you and you must go over the wall.” That power is the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. When sorrow, or trial, or weakness comes, the thing is to look for grace to be above it. If trial is impending, it is better to be quiet. I have association and fellowship with the Lord Jesus where He is, and I have the power of my Lord where He is not. If you want to be effective, to have practical power while walking down here, it must be by abiding above, by fellowship with the Lord Jesus where He is.
A person may be converted, and may be very genuine, and still not be looking for the Lord Jesus where He is. He may, like Jonathan, see Goliath on the ground, but not be quite happy and at rest; but when he sees the head of Goliath in David’s hand, what now? He says, as it were, “I am going to give up all my thoughts to David.” And that is what we get in John One. When those two disciples followed our Lord, when they followed Him as the Lamb of God, their first question was, “Where dwellwst Thou?” Do you remember His answer – “Come and see,” and do you not think He would say that to you if you asked?
You will never get occupied with the Lord Jesus until you learn that He has so perfectly cleared the ground for you, that now you can turn around and delight yourself in Him. A man may have a beautiful estate, and yet not be able to enjoy it because he has poor health. That is how it is with many saints; they have not spiritual health to enjoy their possessions.
The difference between the old and the new order is, the old was to change your circumstances, and to give you ease and relief. The new order is: “As the sufferings of Christ abound,” so also the consolations of Christ abound. As the sufferings increase, so also does the capacity to suffer increase. You are not taken out of the trial, but you are made superior to it. Do not look for a change in your circumstances, but keep your mind and heart on the Lord Jesus above, that while by the power of the Holy Spirit you have association with Him where He is, you will manifest His life and power where He is not. What really hinders souls is this: they are looking for easy circumstances, looking for God to take away the difficulties, instead of looking to Him for grace to be superior to them. “For when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
- J B Stoney
For those who may desire obtaining the materials I share in book form, you can order them at cost on MJS Books.com. The three books are titled “Position Papers.” Remember, all the materials I post can be shared by anyone with anyone, due to their antiquity they are out of copyright and are therefore public domain.