The knife of the
"This sickness is not unto death." John 11:4
From our Lord's words, we learn that there is a limit to sickness. In all sickness, the Lord says to the waves of pain, "Hitherto shall you go—but no further!" His fixed purpose is not the destruction of His people—but the instruction of His people. Wisdom hangs up the thermometer at the furnace mouth—and regulates the heat!
1. The limit is encouragingly comprehensive. The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity and effects of all our sicknesses. Each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestinated, each relapse ordained, each depression of spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed. Nothing great or small escapes the ordaining hand of Him who numbers the hairs of our head!
2. This limit is wisely adjusted to our strength, to the end designed, and to the grace apportioned. Affliction does not come by 'chance'—the weight of every stroke of God's rod—is accurately measured. He who made no mistakes in balancing the clouds, and measuring out the heavens—commits no errors in measuring out the ingredients which compose the medicine of souls. We cannot suffer too much—nor be relieved too late!
3. The limit is tenderly appointed. The knife of the heavenly Surgeon never cuts deeper than is absolutely necessary. "He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." A mother's heart cries, "Spare my child!" but no mother is more compassionate than our gracious God. When we consider how self-willed we are—it is a wonder that we are not driven with a sharper bit!
The thought is full of consolation—that He who has fixed the bounds of our habitation, has also fixed the bounds of our tribulation.