Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way that he should go.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,”
I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself – that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
The Lord’s lessons are often difficult to learn. Sometimes we balk at the very idea, that the way God chooses for us is His best for our lives – that the path we tread, though often counter to our desires, is for our good! Yet all things, however difficult.. all things however frustrating.. all things however hurtful… all things are used by God, to work together for our eternal benefit. God will make all things, even the impossible obstacles that litter our way… He will make all things serve His best purpose in us.
I have mountains in my life, as you have in yours. Heavy obstacles that threaten to bar our way to the Celestial City. Happenings that seek to frustrate our peace and threaten our progress. Things that block our rest in Him. Things that mar our vision and endanger our hope. Such things lay a heavy claim on our abiding in Him and resting in His love. That uncongenial employment – that lack of occupation or financial burden – that irritating relative – that frustrating neighbour or disappointing child. That broken friendship – that shattered relationship – that cruel word. That monotonous daily round, that thorn in the flesh – that daily cross to bear. Oh, how we long that they be cut off and how we pray for their removal, and yet these are the very conditions for which we have prayed so earnestly! Conditions that He uses for our spiritual improvement!!
These are the means that God chooses to impart to us the graces we so desire. These are the situation He uses to conform us into the likeness of His dear Son. These are His chosen tools – His anvil and hammer, to fashion us into His image. These are His appointed instruments, to draw us ever closer into His presence. The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials – we prove this daily……. so why instruct us to count it all joy, when we do meet trials of various kinds??
Well – have you not prayed for patience down through those long years of seeking His face? Have you not desired the treasured attribute of long-suffering – so evident in His own dear life? Have you not sought for faith that would remove mountains – where you soar like the eagle? Have you not yearned that the fruit of the Spirit to be fully matured in your imperfect life? Removing a frustrating problem may stop the temptation towards impatience, but removing a frustrating problem does not develop the prayed for patience. Patience:- that gift of grace, you so earnestly desired. Preventing disloyal betrayals of trusted friends may dictate a smoother route, but it won’t perfect in us generosity of heart towards gracious forgiveness. Withdrawing acute needs by filling our laps with bountiful provision may fill a temporary need, but it will not perfect in us that gracious faith – that is so necessary to please God.
If we could but recognise that problem, betrayals and needs are His mountains – strewn in our way to develop in us those prayed for graces and desired virtues – those that Christ Himself displayed in the uphill path that He chose to take. These mountains of difficulties are but servants of God. They are not only used to test worthiness, patience, faith, and forgiveness – but to strengthen it, to increase it, to perfect it. These mountains of difficulties are but servants of God, to draw us ever closer into Himself, until Christ be formed in us.
In Job 28 we read these words:- God understands the way to it and He alone knows where it dwells, for He views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When He established the force of the wind and measured out the waters – when He made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm – then He looked at wisdom and appraised it; He confirmed it and tested it. And He said to man, ‘The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.’ Job 28 23-24. Remember – an oak is not only tested by the storms but also toughened by them.
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