I dare say the Lord has a distinct purpose in allowing you to be placed in so many new circumstances, that you are to be emptied from vessel to vessel. A person in nature gets used to one set of circumstances, but really in grace there is a novelty in every step of the way; and it is because one does not realize this novelty as to seek enablement from the Lord continuously, that He has sometimes to change us to an order of things entirely new to us. There is ever a danger to settle on our lees, to seek for ease for ourselves. When things are easy and pleasant about us, we begin to think that we are an object of consideration, and that things are thus ordered by God because we are so, and this leads to consider for oneself.
It is true that each of us is an object of consideration to the Lord, but it depends on Him as to the way He may express His consideration. The Jew was an object to God on the earth and it was expressed in an earthly way; but the saint now is considered for with reference to things above, and if I expect consideration in an earthly way, I am not in the mind of my Father whose object I am. If I am expecting Him to think of and order for me after an earthly way, I have not learned how He really does consider for me, and consequently He has to disrupt my attempts to settle here. Then I become like a bird which when its nest is rifled or swept away, flies away, and fears to dwell neat the scene of his sorrow; the wing is its only comfort and resource.
Job was greatly distressed because his nest was so entirely dismantled, and he felt that he had done nothing to deserve it. But in the long run he learned, not only that he was not entitled to anything, but that he was one to be abhorred; and how could he expect anything for what was abhorred? But then it was that he knew what it was to be entirely cast on God. When he abhorred himself he has no one to turn to but God, and this is dependence. When one has learned that there is no one but the Father to rest on, there is dependence, because then I know like David how He thinks of me; and this produces confidence in Him.
This John knew when leaning on Jesus’ breast. Then I am like one coming down here, knowing that I have shelter under His wing above and a sure retreat; in the other case, it is that there is not a stick left of the old nest here, and one’s only resource is to fly away and be at rest. The one is the dove of the ark that returns to its known place of rest; the other is learning to be a dove and crying out for its wings to fly away. If you know what it is to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, you will abide under the shadow of the Almighty, and your visits to this scene will be with the intuition and clear knowledge of the way back to heaven.
If not, storms will beset you until the earthly nest be quite scattered away, so that you will fear to build here and your only hope will be in flying away, for you have a dove’s nature, and there can be no rest for the sole of your foot here. Thus we see these two dependencies; one, the better, is because I know what I have above, and I only come on a visit here. The other, because I have nothing here, and therefore I seek what is above. We all learn mostly in the latter way, but having reached the retreat above even in this lower way, and having tasted of being with our Source of Life there, we can then enter on the better and higher resting place, and come here only as a visitor.
In the one, I am but an emigrant, or a swallow, seeking a suited house; in the other, I am a carrier pigeon, coming with messages from my Lord, to the needy one of the sorrowful scene. I trust you will be a carrier pigeon, and be able to tell me that you are seeking nothing here, not because you have seen your nest blown away, but because you enjoy so much above that you could not swell here.
-J B Stoney
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