"Affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground." Job 5:6. So said Eliphaz the Temanite.
In times of trouble, and these come upon all the children of God (for each "heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy" Prov. 14:10), it is wise and well to turn to our gracious God with the inquiry, "Why is it thus with me?"
In some way or other, inscrutable to us today, God our Father is acting on our behalf, for our ultimate good. He allows that which is evil, apparently, to come upon us, but He turns the seeming curse into a real blessing.
Of old the alchemists spent time and fortune, lives and possessions, in the vain endeavor to make base metals into gold. They failed absolutely, as we know.
But this is the way of the God of knowledge. The base metals of trouble and tribulation are changed, in His all-wise and all-powerful hands, into the finest gold for the believer's profit.
The chastisement, which "seemeth" not "to be joyous, but grievous" (Heb. 12:11), yields a harvest of blessing in the end. It is proved to be "for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness." That is God's side, that we may be in accord with His mind and respond to His thought.
It has been pointed out that one may treat chastisement in any of three ways:
We may despise it.
We may faint under it.
We may rejoice during it.
This illustration has been employed: In a heavy rain a duck goes on its usual course; the rain does not affect it. A hen seems to droop under the shower and is miserable. A little robin chirps in the midst of it all.
Let us not make little of the trial. Let us have confidence in our God in the midst of it, and sing praises to Him who fails not in His mercy and kindness towards us day by day.
"My spirit on Thy care,
Blest Saviour, I recline;
Thou wilt not leave me in despair,
For Thou art love divine."
+First published as Songs for the Night Seasons by Inglis Fleming. New York: Loizeaux Bros., [n.d.].