IN GOD'S SCHOOL
Man is the supreme product in this world, and the struggle with
adversity and evil forces is a part of God's plan of developing him
for mansions and thrones and crowns and kingdoms in the world to
come. Therefore we must believe and hope and love and struggle on.
'For in due season we shall reap, if we faint not' (Gal. vi. 9). We
must beware of discouragement and from running away from the
conflict. If we flee we shall perish for ever. If we fight to the
finish, we shall conquer though we die.
Nothing can come to us that God does not permit, and which by His
grace cannot be made to work out our higher good. God wants to build
us up in holy character, but holy character is for eternity and is
many sided, and therefore must be subjected to manifold testings. We
must be taught by both pain and pleasure, we must learn how to
abound and to suffer need. And in this we shall often be plunged
from the heights to the depths, and hurled from the depths to the
Today the sun shines and the world is full of beauty, and life seems
a holiday, but tomorrow the storm-clouds lower and the beauty is
hid, and we are prone to fear that the sun will shine no more. Today
men look upon us and smile and shout 'Hosanna! but tomorrow they
frown and gnash their teeth and cry out, 'Crucify Him.' Today we
have plenty and can feed the multitudes of the hungry with what we
have to spare; tomorrow we ourselves are hungry and know not where
to turn for bread. Today our pulse is full and we feel strong to
chase a thousand; tomorrow we are feeble and broken and life is a
burden. Today we pray and God hears us before we call and answers
while we are yet speaking; tomorrow we plead and weep and moan and
the heavens seem shut, and the mocking tempter whispers, 'Where is
thy God now?'
Today Job is the richest man in all the East, and his sons are the
strongest and his daughters are the fairest in the land; tomorrow he
is a pauper and childless. Today Joseph is the pet of his father's
heart and home; tomorrow he is under the lash and is toiling and
galled with the slave gang's chain. Today David weds the king's
daughter; tomorrow the king, with murderous hate, hurls his javelin
at him and chases him over and around the mountains as he would a
partridge or a wolf. Today Daniel sits next to the king in the midst
of the hundred and twenty princes and counselors; tonight he is in
the lions' den.
What means all this uncertainty and mystery of pleasure and pain, of
hope and despair, of favor and disfavor? Ah, Hallelujah! it means
that God wants us for Himself. Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth (disciplineth)'
(Heb. xii. 6). It means that He sees there is something in us worth
His while to educate, and He is educating us.
A friend of mine owned a gold mine. He promised the Lord every penny
of profit from it. He made nothing, but lost twenty thousand pounds
in that mine. He went to the Lord about it. The Lord said, 'I am
educating you, and I can afford to spend millions to do so.' My
friend cried out, 'O Lord, if Thou canst afford it, I can, for Thou
knowest I want to be educated in Thy school!'
God would make us strong in faith, mighty in prayer, unfailing in
hope, content whatever our lot, perfect in love, fearless in our
devotion to truth, lovers of men and more than conquerors.
He would wean us from man, in whom there is no help, to Himself; He
would detach us from the world and fasten us by every tie to Heaven.
When Job shall have learned his lesson, which is not for himself
alone, but for ten thousand times ten thousand other perplexed
sufferers as well, he shall have his riches doubled and restored to
him again with stronger sons and fairer daughters.
Joseph shall leave the prison cell and slave gang's chain and sit as
favorite in Pharaoh's palace and rule his empire. The king shall die
by his own hand, and David shall sit upon his throne. Daniel shall
escape from the lions' den and rise to higher honour and esteem than
he knew before. Thus shall it be with the man who does not kick
against the pricks, but nestles low under God's hand and rejoices
and obeys and trusts and doubts not while God educates.
Flowers need night's cool darkness, The moonlight and the dew;
So Christ from one who loved it, His shining oft withdrew.
And then for cause of absence My troubled soul I scanned,
But glory shadeless shineth In Emmanuel's land.
The secret of peace and victory under all these circumstances is 'a
little more faith in Jesus.'
In God's school we learn through the heart rather than through the
head, and by faith rather than logic. 'Lord, I believe! ' Amen!