The sweet uses of adversity


Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.  Job 10:2

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 119:65-72

There was a fair ship which belonged to the great Master of the seas; it was about to sail from the port of grace to the haven of glory. Before it left the shore the great Master said, Mariners, be brave! Captain, be bold! For not a hair of your head shall perish; I will bring you safely to your desired haven. The angel of the winds is commissioned to take care of you on your way.  The ship sailed confidently with its streamers flying in the air. It floated along at a swift rate with a fair wind for many days. But suddenly there came a hurricane which drove them from the course, strained their mast until it bent as if it could snap in two. The sail was torn to ribbons; the sailors were alarmed and the captain himself trembled. They had lost their course. They were off the right track, and they mourned exceedingly. When the day dawned the waves were quiet, and the angel of the winds appeared; and they spoke unto him, and said,  Oh angel, were you not asked to take charge of us, and preserve us on our journey?  He answered,  It was even so, and I have done it. You were steering on confidently, and you knew not that a little ahead of your vessel lay a quicksand upon which she would be wrecked and swallowed up quick. I saw that there was no way for your escape but to drive you from your course. See, I have done as it was commanded me: go on your way.  This is a parable of our Lord’s dealings with us. He often drives us from our smooth course which we thought was the right track to heaven. But there is a secret reason for it; there is a quicksand ahead that is not marked in the chart. We know nothing about it; but God sees it, and he will not permit this fair vessel, which he has himself insured, to be stranded anywhere; he will bring it safely to its desired haven.

For meditation: If an ass can inconvenience a false prophet to deliver him from imminent danger (Numbers 22:21-34), God is able to obstruct his people in one way or another when they are heading for trouble. We can only see the benefits later (Hebrews 12:11).

Sermon no. 283 13 November (1859)