We are all prone to forget the weighty fact that “God trieth the righteous.” He withdraweth not His eyes from them.” We are in our Father’s hands and under His eye continually. We are the objects of His deep, tender and unchanging love; but we are also the subjects of His wise moral government. His dealings with us are varied. They are sometimes corrective; always instructive.
We may be bent on some course of our own, the end of which would be moral ruin. The Father intervenes and withdraws us from our purpose. He dashes into fragments our air-built castles, dissipates our golden dreams and interrupts our darling scheme on which our hearts were set, and which would have proved to be certain destruction. “Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living” (Job 33:29, 30).
In turning for a moment to Hebrews 12:3-12, we find much vital instruction on the subject of our Father’s dealing with His beloved people. Here are presented three distinct ways in which we may meet His chastening hand. We may “despise” it, as though his hand and His voice were not in it; we may “faint” under it, as though it were intolerable and not the precious fruit of His love; or lastly, we may be “exercised” by it and thus reap in due time, “the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”
Now if Job had only seized the great fact that God was dealing with him; that He was trying him for his ultimate good; that He was using circumstances, people, the Sabeans, Satan himself, as His instruments; that all his trials, his losses, his bereavements, his sufferings, were but God’s marvelous agency in bringing about His wise and gracious end; that He would assuredly perfect that which concerned His dear and much-loved servant, because His mercy endureth forever; in a word, had Job only lost sight of all second causes, and fixed his thoughts upon the living God alone, and accepted all from His loving hand, he would have more speedily reached the divine solution of all his difficulties.
But it is precisely here that we are all apt to break down. We get occupied with men and things; we view them in reference to ourselves. We do not walk with our Father through, or rather above, the circumstances; but on the contrary, we allow the circumstances to get power over us. In place of keeping our Father between us and our (His) circumstances, we permit these latter to get between us and the Father. Thus we lose the realization of His presence, and the light of His countenance; the holy calmness of being in His loving hand, and under His fatherly eye.
Hence we become fretful, impatient, irritable and fault-finding. We get out of fellowship (but never out of union—NC) with our Father, thoroughly astray, judging everyone except ourselves, until at length He takes us in hand and by His own direct and powerful ministry, brings us back to Himself in true brokenness of heart and humbleness of mind. This is “the end of the Lord.” “Behold, we cunt them happy who endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy” (James 5:11).