Comfort for the Christian
"Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things!" Matthew 6:32
The Lord Jesus, as the great teacher, is instructing his disciples in the doctrine of divine providence, and teaching them to exercise faith in God. He tells them that God feeds the sparrows, and clothes the lilies—and therefore, He will not neglect, or refuse to feed and clothe his redeemed children.
He would have them to act like his children. Children who view the Most High God as their Father. Children who are absolutely dependent upon him. Children who look to him for all; and expect him to supply them with all. This is our position. This is our privilege. Yes, this is our duty. 'Worry' is never fitting for a child of God. Anxiety is injurious to us. Anxiety dishonors our heavenly Father. He knows our circumstances. He will not forget his relation to us. He will never give us cause to complain of him, or reflect badly upon him. Let us for a few moments look at:
But in his infinite mercy, for the glory of his own free grace—God adopted us, placed us among his children, and so changed both our state and condition! He regenerated us by his Holy Spirit, and so gave us a new nature; that we may not only have a name and a place among his children—but possess their nature too. Life was imparted to our souls. Light was shed on our understandings. Desires after God sprang up within us. Conviction of sin pierced us.
The demands of the law once terrified us. Fears of hell once beset us. Satan once harassed and distressed us. But at length Jesus was revealed to us. The throne of grace was unveiled before us. We approached the mercy seat. We pleaded for pardon. We sought reconciliation. We were drawn near to the Divine Majesty. God was revealed in Jesus. The Spirit of adoption took possession of our souls. We cried, "Abba, Father!" We were acknowledged as God's children. The love of God was shed abroad in our hearts. The peace of God took possession of our consciences. We felt that we had passed from death unto life. We believed the love that God had unto us. We were inwardly persuaded that he was indeed our Father. We were satisfied. We were happy. We felt that all was well with us.
Had this experience always continued with us—then doubt, fear, or anxiety could never have troubled or distressed us. But a change came over us!
The world influenced us.
Satan deceived us.
Our own hearts were false and feeble.
Still the relationship remained. We still have a heavenly Father who cares for us! And as heaven is high above the earth, so far does God's relationship exceed all human relationships. To have God for our Father—is the height of blessedness, it is the crowning privilege!
Nothing can exceed this, for his love is infinite, and embraces all his children. His love cannot change, for that would imply a change in his nature. But he says, "I am Jehovah—I do not change!" Everything outside of the Divine nature will change. But Jehovah himself loves his people—and as his nature cannot change—neither can his love.
His resources are boundless—and He supplies all of his children. They are never sent to any other quarter for supply—but always bidden to come to their Father for all they need. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." "The heaven, even the heavens—are the Lord's."
His pity is exquisite, and he sympathizes with all of his children. "Like as a father pities his children—so the Lord pities all who fear him. He knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust."
His knowledge is perfect, therefore he is fully acquainted with them all. "All things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do." He knows exactly where each one is—and each of their wants, woes, and wishes. For "the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on the behalf of all those who hearts are sincere towards him."
His power is omnipotent—and protects them all. He says, "No one is able to pluck you out of my hand! I will strengthen you! I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness."
His nature is unchangeable—and His covenant is sure; therefore He will be to us, and do for us—all that He has promised to us!
Scripture history unfolds God's love to--and the method of his dealing with His children. He is "the same yesterday, today—and forever!"
What a mercy—to have a Father—and such a Father!
What an astounding blessing—to have God for our Father in a world like this, and in times like these!
What a comfort—to look up to the High and Lofty one who inhabits eternity—and rejoice that He has a father's heart—and that His heart beats with unutterable love to me!
What an encouragement—to be able in the midst of trials, troubles, temptations, losses, crosses, disappointments, and vexations—to look up to my heavenly Father and say, "I will cry unto God most high, unto God who performs all things for me!"
Let me then consider,
The CONSOLATION the Savior holds forth to his children:
"Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things!" He created us to be dependent upon him. He never intended that we should be self-sufficient or independent. He placed us where we would be dependent upon him.
Man has needs—and needs much!
But man as a sinner--must need more!
God created us as men—and he allowed us to make ourselves sinners! And then (O, amazing grace!) he took us, adopted us, and made us his children! To be dependent upon him, therefore is natural. To need the many things that we do—proves that we are sinful. To be placed in circumstances where all our needs are supplied—is supernatural. Sin breeds anxiety, and our gracious heavenly Father bids us to us cast all our cares upon him, assuring us that he cares for us.
His EYE is ever upon us! His eye is a Father's eye, which is always quick, and always affects his heart. He has set his eyes upon us for good. His eye is ever over us—fixed immediately upon us.
His EAR catches our every sigh, our every groan, our every desire! It is always open to our cry. He listens to us—as one most tenderly and deeply interested in us. He knows our every need—and he intends to supply us!
Our heavenly Father has forever determined—that none of his children shall lack any good thing—and that he will not withhold any good thing from them.
"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things!" Matthew 6:31-32
Our heavenly Father will try our faith. Often does he say by his dealings with us, "Can you trust me? Can you leave this affair with me? Can you give me time? Can you trust me to deal with kindness, truthfulness, and constancy towards you?"
Our heavenly Father will make us pray. He loves to hear us! And when to ourselves our prayers are like a confused chattering—they are clear and pleasant to him.
He will, by keeping us waiting—enhance the value of the blessing. That which is easily obtained—is often little valued. But that which costs us groans, sighs, prayers, tears, and efforts—is much more prized. Therefore it is—that we are kept waiting, watching, and crying for the blessing. God is not unwilling to bestow—but he will teach us to prize and value his gifts.
God will display his wisdom—in promoting the eternal welfare of all His children. God's ways are not our ways. They are always profoundly wise; and his wisdom will in the end stand conspicuous and glorious in his paternal dealings with all of his children.
Beloved, if God is our Father—he will chastise us.
We need it!
We deserve it!
We shall have it! "For what son is not chastened by his father?" Hebrews 12:7
He never had but one child whom he did not chasten, because he never had but one, who did not deserve chastening.
But he will mix mercy with every affliction. Like sugar in our tea—it sometimes lies at the bottom, and needs stirring up!
But there is always mercy there. A cup of unmixed wrath was put into the hands of Jesus—that such a cup might never be put into our hands!
There is sweetness in the bitterest cup which our Father gives us! Let us therefore look for the sugar—as we sip the bitter potion!
He will take the meaning of our prayers—yes, of our groans, sighs and tears! "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book!" Psalm 56:8. Who understands a child—like his father? Especially the father that is always with him. Our heavenly Father understands us—he needs no interpreter. He never requires us to go to him—by a human priest, by a saint, or by the Virgin Mary. He says, "Come boldly to the throne of grace." "Come alone. Come whenever you desire! Come for all that you need. I shall always understand you. I will surely listen to you. I will certainly bless you!"
Jesus is always before his Father for us—he ever lives to make intercession for his people. Jesus is the medium through which our Father looks upon us, loves us, and converses with us. We need no other. It reflects badly upon our Father's love, and our Savior's sufficiency to employ another. Let us disclaim all priests but Jesus. Let us refuse to go to God through any medium but Jesus. Let us rejoice that our Father reads our hearts, understands our language, and will grant our requests—so far as he can consistently, with his glory and our good. He will prevent Satan from prevailing against us. Our heavenly Father will never let that roaring lion devour one of his children! That old serpent shall never destroy one whose name is in God's family register!
If God is our Father, we ought to depend on his providence. It is particular and minute. It numbers the hairs of our head. It superintends all our concerns.
If God is our Father, we ought to submit patiently to all his will. His will is love. Whatever he does, or permits to be done—he will overrule for our good. In the greatest trial, under overwhelming afflictions, he says, "Be still—and know that I am God." Let us then lie at his feet—when not permitted to pillow our heads on his bosom. Let us be silent before him—when we cannot see the outcome of his dispensations, or his kindness in permitting them.
If God is our Father, we ought cheerfully to obey his commands. His apostle assures us, that "his commandments are not grievous." They may cross our inclinations. They may run counter to our whims, desires, or pre-conceived opinions; but if our hearts are right, they will not be grievous. The very fact of their flowing from a Father's love, and being backed by a Father's authority—should be enough to make us cheerfully obey them!
If God is our Father, we ought patiently to endure our trials, quietly carry our cross, and show by our conduct—that we esteem it an unspeakable mercy to have a Father—and such a Father. A Father, who knows our needs, has provided for them, and will in his own time supply them. A Father, who knows our wishes, and will, as far as his glory will permit, gratify them. A Father, who ever loves us, will never leave us—but constantly cares for us. A Father, who wishes us to be free from all worry, to cast every care upon him, to leave the settlement of all our affairs to him, and trust him with all that we esteem valuable for time and eternity.
O, lost sinner—you have no such Father! You are at present a poor friendless orphan! But the door of mercy is open. The throne of grace is accessible. God still admits sinners to his presence, and places sincere penitents among his children.
O, backslider! You have left your Father's house, you have wounded your Father's name, you have grieved your Father's heart. You were happy once—but you are unhappy now. Your Father is calling upon you to return. He waits to be gracious unto you. He will receive you graciously, he will love you freely. Go to your Father's throne, confess your sin, plead for pardon, appeal to mercy—and soon, very soon, you will be rejoicing in your Father's changeless love!