"Trust in the Lord."
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed."
"Trust in the Lord." Each day has its burdens, its cares, and perplexities'; and when we meet, how ready we are to talk of our difficulties and trials. So many borrowed troubles intrude, so many fears are indulged, such a weight of anxiety is expressed, that one might almost suppose that we had no pitying, loving Saviour, ready to hear all our requests, and to be to us a present help in every time of need.
Some are always fearing and borrowing trouble. Every day they are surrounded by the tokens of God's love, every day they are enjoying the bounties of his providence; but they overlook these present blessings. Their minds are continually dwelling upon something disagreeable which they fear may come: or some difficulty may really exist, which, though small, blinds their eyes to the many things which demand gratitude. The difficulties which they encounter, instead of driving them to God, the only source of help, separate them from him, because they awaken unrest and repining.
Brethren and sisters, do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be ungrateful and distrustful? Jesus is our friend. All heaven is interested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy Spirit of God. We should not indulge in a solicitude which only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials. No place should be given to that distrust of God which leads us to make a preparation against future want the chief pursuit of life, as though our happiness consisted in these earthly things, and we could gain them while ignoring the fact that God controls all things.
You may be perplexed in business; your prospects may grow darker and darker, and you may be threatened with loss. But do not become discouraged; cast your care upon God, and remain calm and cheerful. Begin every day with earnest prayer, not omitting to offer praise and thanksgiving. Ask for wisdom to manage your affairs with discretion, and thus prevent loss and disaster. Do all you can on your part to bring about favorable results. Jesus has promised divine aid, but not aside from human efforts. When, relying upon your tried Helper, you have done all you can, accept the result cheerfully. It will not always be gain from the worldling's standpoint; but perhaps success might have been the worst thing for you. If your confidence remains unshaken that God will do all things well, these light afflictions will work out for you a "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
If trial and loss are our lot here, let us remember that the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." "I reckon," said Paul, "that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." It would be well if we would all begin to reckon as did this hero of faith. We want an eye single to the glory of God in all the affairs of life; we want a living faith that holds fast the promises of God, no matter how dark the prospect. We are not to look at the things which are seen, and judge from the world's standpoint, and be ruled by the world's principles; but we are to look at the things which are unseen, eternal.
It is not the will of God that his people should be weighed down with care. But our Lord does not deceive us. He does not say to us, "Do not fear; there are no dangers in your path." He knows there are trials and dangers, and he deals with us plainly. He does not propose to take his people out of a world of sin and evil, but he points them to a never-failing refuge. His prayer for his disciples was, "I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil." "In the world," he says, "ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you
When in the synagogue at Nazareth Jesus announced his divine character and mission, no such gracious words as he spoke had ever before fallen upon the ears of his listeners. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," he read, "because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." And then came the words so full of hope and comfort, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." He who was the hope of Israel, he who alone was able to bind the strong man armed, and set free the captives of sin, had come to them with loving offers of mercy. Admiration and wonder were awakened; but they refused to accept him as the Messiah, because he did not come in a way to gratify their proud, unbelieving hearts.
As in the days of his flesh, he invites the weary and care-laden, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Lay off the yoke of anxiety and worldly care which you have placed on your own necks, and "take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Find rest and peace and quietude in God, dear brethren and sisters. Yield your hearts to him; rely wholly upon him; cast "all your care upon him, for he careth for you."
How can we remain in doubt, questioning whether Jesus loves us, sinful though we be and compassed with infirmities? He gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. He came to our world in the humble guise of a man, that he might become acquainted with the griefs and temptations that beset man's pathway, and that he might know how to help the weary with his offer of rest and peace. But thousands upon thousands refuse his assistance, and only cling more firmly to their burden of care. He comes to the afflicted, and offers to soothe their grief and heal their sorrow; but they turn away from the proffered rest and peace, and continue to talk of their distress and mourn over their hard lot. To the disappointed, the unbelieving, and the unhappy, he offers contentment, while pointing to mansions that he is preparing for them: but they close their eyes to the beautiful prospects, and their hearts against the comfort and joy that the Redeemer alone can give.
Jesus, our precious Saviour, should be first in our thoughts and affections, and we should trust him with entire confidence. He has removed the barrier that separated us from God, that prevented us from grasping the hand of our heavenly Father. He has taken upon himself our guilt, and stands ready, through his own merits, to accept our penitence, and pardon our transgressions. "The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." And the Father himself loves us, or he could never have consented to this great sacrifice. John exclaimed, as he contemplated the amazing love and condescension of God: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
We cannot perfect Christian character unless we are willing to learn in the school of Christ, and make a practical use of every lesson he would teach us. Every day our Saviour gives us our work to do, and that work is to conquer every difficulty and temptation which the day presents. We are not to manufacture trials and evils by our own wrong course of action. We are not to imagine difficulties which do not exist. We need not create evils; for this is Satan's work, and he is equal to the task. When by the indulgence of a perverse temper or the natural inclinations of the heart, we help him in his work, we add to the sum of the evils which we must endure. As each day comes, we must in the strength of Jesus meet its trials and temptations. If we fail one day, we add to the burdens of the next, and have less strength. We should not cloud the future by our carelessness in the present; but by thoughtful and careful performance of today's duties, be preparing to meet the emergencies of tomorrow.
We need to cultivate a spirit of cheerfulness. We should be happy and grateful; for we have everything to make us happy and to call out gratitude. Let us ever look on the bright side of life, and be hopeful, full of love and good works, rejoicing in the Lord always.
"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts," and "be ye thankful."—E. White, Review and Herald, February 3, 1885