THE RECOMPENSE OF TRUST
"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this
is the place of repose"—
"No one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him." Psalm
"Judaea Capta," are the words engraved on the
well-known Roman coin, upon which impersonated captive Judah is sitting
under the fronds of a desolate palm-tree.
Beneath the shadow of the Divine Heavenly Palm, the
afflicted Christian can mingle his pensive sadness with the joyous strain,
"He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the
shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my
fortress: my God; in Him will I trust" (Ps. 91:1, 2).
"Trust God." It is easy for us to do so in sunshine.
It is easy to follow our Leader, as Israel did the pillar-cloud, when a
glorious pathway was opened up for them through the midst of the Red Sea; or
when at Elim they pitched under tapering palm and by gushing spring; or when
heaven rained down bread on the hungry camp. But it is not so easy to follow
when earthly palms wither and fountains fail, and the pillar ceases to
guide, and all outward and visible supports are withdrawn. Then,
however, is the time for faith to soar! When the world is loud with its
atheist sneer—What of religious supports now? THEN is the time to manifest a
simple childlike confidence; and, amid baffling dispensations and frowning
providences to exclaim, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."
Child of Sickness! bound down for years on a lonely
pillow—the night-lamp your companion—disease wasting your cheeks and
furrowing your brow, weary days and nights appointed you; tell me, where is
the God in whom you trust? He is here, is the reply. His presence takes
loneliness from my chamber, and sadness from my countenance. His promises
are a pillow for my aching head, they point me onwards to that better land
where the inhabitant shall no more say, "I am sick!"
Child of Poverty! where is the God whom you trust?
Can He visit this crude dwelling? Can His promises be hung on these broken
rafters? Can the light of His Word illumine that cheerless hearth and
sustain that bent figure, shivering over the smouldering ashes? Yes! He is
here. The lips of truth that uttered the beatitude, "Blessed are the poor,"
have not spoken in vain. Bound down by chill poverty, forsaken and forgotten
in old age, no footstep of mercy heard on my threshold, no lip of man to
drop the kindly word, no hand of support to replenish the empty cupboard;
that God above has not deserted me. He has led me to seek and lay up my
treasure in a home where poverty cannot enter, and where the beggar's hovel
is transformed into the kingly mansion!
Bereaved One! where is the God whom you trust? Where
is the Arm of Omnipotence you used to lean upon? Has He forgotten to be
gracious? Has He mocked your prayers by trampling in the dust your dearest
and best, and left you to pine and agonize in the bitterness of your
desolate heart and home? No, He is here! He has swept down my fond
idols, but it was in order that He Himself might occupy the vacant
place. I know Him too well to question the faithfulness of His word and the
fidelity of His dealings. I have never known what a God He was, until this
hour of bitter trial overtook me! There was a "need be" in every tear, every
deathbed, every grave!
Dying One! the closing moments are at hand; the world
is receding, the dreaded symptoms of the approaching end are gathering fast
round your pillow, the soul is pluming its wings for the immortal flight!
Before memory begins to fade and the mind becomes a waste; before the names
of friends when mentioned will only be answered by a dull vacant look, and
then the hush of awful silence; tell me, before the last lingering ray of
consciousness and thought has vanished, where is the God whom you trust? He
is here! I feel the everlasting arms underneath and round about me. Heart
and flesh are failing. The mists of death are dimming my eyes to the things
below, but they are opening on the magnificent vistas of eternity. He who
has for long been the object of faith's reliance, will soon be revealed in
full vision and fruition. "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust
and not be afraid."
"Still let me be with Thee, Father,
and ever be Thou with me:
When the clouds and tempests gather,
oh, then, let me trust in Thee:
Let me hide in Thy quiet shadow,
let me dwell in Thy secret shrine,
The home of the souls that love Thee,
the souls that Thou callest Thine!"
And if any who trace these pages feel themselves still
strangers to such simple confiding trust; their inward disquieting thought,
'How can we possibly live out these desert privations: that hot
desert wind by day, these drenching dews by night? Where can we get food in
these dreary leagues of dry sand, or find palm-shade and brook among these
barren rocks and waterless channels?' The message to all such is that
addressed of old to the desponding Prophet, who had deserted the palm-tree
of Israel and Israel's God for the juniper tree of the desert, "Arise!" God
will provide strength for the journey.
"Why are you crying out to Me?" said the Divine voice to
Moses, when he crouched a skeptic at God's feet, pointing to the barrier
mountains behind and the raging sea in front—"Tell the Israelites to move
on!"—'Up, do My bidding; and you shall see how I can make My way in the sea,
and My path in the mighty waters.' "Forward!" said the rebuked hero,
clasping the rod of faith which had been lying forgotten at his side,
and rising in the might of Jehovah. Forward they did go; and what was
their confession and anthem on the opposite shore?—"Your right hand, O Lord,
was majestic in power; Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy." "At
Your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still." "O Lord God
of hosts, who is a strong God like You? You rule over the surging sea: when
its waves mount up, You still them!"
"If you could trust, poor soul,
In Him who rules the whole,
You would find peace and rest;
Wisdom and sight are well, but trust is best."
"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see
the glory of God?"