Discipline and Trial - JB Stoney
MINISTRY BY JBS – NEW SERIES VOL. XII
FELLOWSHIP IN GOD’S PURPOSE UNDER DISCIPLINE
IF our hearts were in happy fellowship with God, and in co-operation with His wondrous ways and arrangements, which are all for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we could not refuse or dissent from His calling on us for our quota to that great circle of His purpose, in which we should feel ourselves included.
If we were really and heartily interested in His purpose and ways, and carefully entering into them, and devoted to them, when we found that He considered it necessary that Lazarus, or even one much dearer to us, should sleep, we should, though unable to see why we are so heavily taxed, bow our heads, and submit to any call on us, because reckoning on the wisdom of His will and counsel, and knowing that He is making all things to work together, not only for good to me, but for His own glory.
I must get to this high level, or I never can comprehend or become resigned to the varied discipline by which our God is carrying out His own purpose, while severing us from self, practically setting flesh aside, that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our body.
It is an exercise to our faith, until we get able to rest in the assurance that His way is perfect, and the only true and effectual way for subduing the particular kind of nature which each has. Faith in His ways is required before we have intelligence as to His ways. I must believe in the skill of a physician before I can confidently submit to perhaps very painful remedies, But when I come to understand his object, and the necessity for those remedies, it is not only faith in his skill, hut approbation of his mode of treatment.
It is long with some of us before the approbation comes; and it is plain that we should be miserable under the treatment, if we had not faith, or in other words, confidence in the skill. If you have this confidence, you can cheerfully submit, even though, like Job, you may not approve; but when you have real fellowship with His purpose, you will approve; it will be grateful to your heart to bow, and you will find that what your God considers the right thing can be nothing else than the best thing for you.
HOW TO PASS THROUGH TRIAL
SINCE I heard of the many and diverse trials which press upon you, I have wished to write to you. It is not easy to rejoice at such a time, and yet it is at such times, to which you are no stranger, that one is assured of the power of Christ on our behalf. The trying, or testing, of the faith worketh endurance. One wonders how one is borne up, so that the sense of His sustaining power supersedes, and even in its unexpected greatness, diverts the heart from the oppression to the succour vouchsafed. David might naturally feel how the odds were against him as he approached the giant; but ere long the power of God, working in and by him, occupied and engaged him more than the trial. So, also, when he was at Ziklag, he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God”; and he soon was more interested in the way God succoured him than weighed down by the affliction which lay upon him.
I have learned a great thing lately. Do not keep your eye on your trial or difficulty, in order to see what God will do for you; but keep your eye on Him, to see what is coming, as if there were no difficulty at all. The trials and difficulties are, I might say, always preparatory to some step in advance; and if the eye be kept on Him, you will be ready for the onward step; whereas, if the eye be only on the trials, though there will be a sense of mercy in the way He makes a way of escape out of them, there will not be, as with Abraham, the “Jehovah-jireh ... In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen” — and a great blessing flowing from the trials. I mean the escape from the trial is the measure of the faith in the one case; whereas, in the other, something never expected, or within the range of probability, is sure to be vouchsafed — as to Paul and Silas in the prison at Philippi. In the one case I limit God to my sense of suffering; I prescribe, as it were, what He is to do for me; in the other, I am leaving it all to Him, and He then astonishes me by the greatness and kindness of His heart for me. Instead of being engrossed with what afflicts me, I seek to find my resources and rest more in Him; and as I do, the trials are distanced in the sense of His power and favour.
Thus our blessed Lord walked through this world. May He be your stay, and your delight too, and then all these trials will work for you increased blessing and comfort.