He must take away our toys!
(Charles Naylor, "Providences and Circumstances")
Life is often an enigma. It brings to us many things that we cannot understand. How blessed it is at such times, to realize that there is One wiser than we, who has our lives in His care and who sees all and understands all! God is our Father, and we are the children of His love. He has our welfare at heart. He is interested in all that concerns us. He watches over all our lives, and nothing that comes to us can come without His wise appointment. Whatever comes, He knows full well its effect upon us, and His loving hand is ever ready to protect and help His children.
He could, if He chose, lead us in a pleasant and easy path through life—but He knows that a pleasant and easy path would not develop that strong and hardy Christian character which is so essential for us. Neither would it give Him an opportunity to reveal the riches of His grace, or His tender care.
He sometimes places a mountain of difficulty before us, that we may climb to higher altitudes—and that in the climbing, we may develop spiritual strength. Every difficulty that we conquer by God's grace, raises us higher in the Christian life. This is the purpose of these difficulties.
He sometimes sends sorrow to soften us and make us hungry for His comfort. We may become too satisfied with earthly things. We may draw too much of our joy from them. He delights to have us draw our joy and our comfort from Him; therefore He must take away our toys which have been occupying our time—that our souls may yearn for the comfort and blessedness which only He can give. He knows that nothing softens us like sorrow. So He gives us a cup of sorrow to drink to the dregs—and oh, what tenderness and blessedness come into our lives when we submissively drink of that cup, no matter how bitter it may be to our taste!
All these happenings may seem dark and mysterious to us; they may seem to be the very things that are the worst for us—but they are not. They are but the manifestations of His kindly wisdom and His fatherly tenderness. Sometimes behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face. We often see only the frown of the providence, and that frown looks very threatening; but if we will look away from that frowning providence to the smiling face of God, we shall see that which will uplift us and strengthen us and enable us to bear whatever stroke of providence may come.
He knows that we must taste the bitter, before we can appreciate the sweet.
He knows that we must feel life's sorrows, before we can value its joys.
Suffering more than anything else, develops us in the Christian graces. It is for this purpose that He sometimes leads us along difficult paths. Though His providences are often dark and mysterious—His love will never fail us.
But throughout our lives, if we are His, then we know that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28. When difficulties arise through which we can see no way, and He makes a way of which we had never thought—it is then that our hearts are made to wonder at His wisdom and are melted with gratitude.
His ways are not our ways. They are higher and better than our ways. If we were wise enough, we would always choose for ourselves, that which He chooses for us. But alas! How often when we choose for ourselves, we choose that which is least wise and most hurtful!
O soul, trust Him. He knows the way that you take. He knows just what is needful for you. So bear with patience, and endure with meekness, and do not question His wisdom or love. This will make the hard places easier, and the tiresome places less tiresome.