“They wonder Jehovah should single them out,
And cause them to hear His sweet voice;
They wonder sometimes their hearts are so hard.
They wonder they cannot rejoice.
And sometimes they wonder they cannot believe,
And wonder what can be the matter;
And thus they go wondering day after day,
And wonder sometimes they’re no better.
But sometimes they wonder that things are no worse,
And bless God things are as they are:
‘Tis then they can thank Him for wonderful grace
That brought their poor souls on so far.”
I read these verses a few minutes ago, and I felt they recorded some of the wonderments of my soul. O what an endless wonder it will be that I, a vile transgressor, shall be brought home into eternal glory, there before the throne of God and the Lamb to praise him evermore. O the exceeding riches of Jehovah’s grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
As the days of the years of my sojourn in this world are passing, there are many things that I have deeply pondered over in my heart, and sometimes I have been filled with sacred wonderment before our God. That the Almighty should be mindful of a sinful human being is wonderful indeed. Take a glimpse of the following Scriptures: “Thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity whose name is Holy.” “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15; 66:1-2).
O the infinite distance between God and the creature man. But in these the gospel, new covenant utterances we have the highest and the lowest meeting, dwelling together: The infinitely high, lofty, holy One that inhabiteth eternity, and the poor afflicted, humble, contrite creature. And when the Lord cometh and makes his abode with a poor sinner, O how graciously, in what tenderness, in love’s omnipotence the Lord our God is known in our hearts: for Christ Jesus, the incarnate only begotten Son of God dwells in our hearts by faith, declaring the eternal love, and grace, the mercy and salvation of God.
That the wolf and the lamb should dwell and feed together would be a great wonder in nature (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25).
But when the Almighty, high and holy One dwells with a sinner, this is verily a great wonder. This is a wonder of the sovereign rich, abounding grace of God. He is the blessed and only Potentate, King of Kings and Lord of Lords; yet in the gospel of Christ he has respect unto the lowly; and these lowly ones are the graciously wrought and taught of the Holy Spirit. O what a wonderful privilege it is to be allowed to pray to the Lord.
Not only as in the beginning of our experience of grace, when burdened by our sins we made fervent supplications, and cried: “God be merciful to me a sinner”, but ever since then, immemorial times, under the pressure of our afflictions, conflicts and perplexing providences. Truly it is a mercy for poor sinners to cast their cares upon the Lord. To find ourselves moved, impelled, yes drawn to implore that mercy, that help, that counsel, that upholding, which only the God of our mercy can bestow. We fail, an arm of flesh, creature wisdom, creatures all fail; all are vanity. But our gracious God has ever been our sufficiency, our very present help in trouble. That help was not afar off. It did not arrive too late. We may have thought it tarried, that it would never come, and if help did come it would be of small consequence now, because our trials, sorrows, conflicts, our affairs had grown worse, and we feared there was no salvation, there could be no peace and joy for us in this life. But God’s very present help, in the right moment, was manifested, and that sufficed us.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof” (Psalm 46:1-3).
There are seasons when, by the power of the Holy Ghost toward us, we find sweet confidence of faith and rejoicing to be ours. But, child of God, there are times also when, in righteousness and all wise dispensations of the Lord, we are under sore and heavy chastenings, and our souls are so full of trouble the waves of affliction roll over us. The powers of hell itself appear to be let loose upon us, and we are the prey of wild beasts, of the depravities of our sinful natures, and we feel the terrors of God himself are set in array against us; and we know a little of what the Psalmist writes: “While I suffer thy terrors I am distracted” (Psalm 88:15). Even then, amidst our distractions, we are not forsaken of our God, for he still moves us to pour out our complaints, to stretch forth our hands unto him, to entreat his compassion, to implore his salvation, for we are persuaded that vain is the help of man. “The Lord will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.” His ear is open to their cry. But we cannot tell what is best for us. Ah, the deepest penetration of my heart cannot determine what is best for me, and I have seen a number of times that it was well I could not carry out my purposes; but the counsel of the Lord it shall stand. It is our blessedness in all our ways to commit our way unto the Lord, and thus through his grace to wait for his counsel. How, many times I have been made to know that my disappointments were his appointments, and that all times have ever been, and will ever be ordered by the all-wise decrees of Jehovah. There are painful episodes in some of our lives. We, some of us, have had to encounter unblushing flatterers, vile slanderers, and the treachery of a hypocritical friend. But all are under the dominion of God, and can do no more than what is in the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Oh, to be able to sing: “Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Rev. 19:6).
“Wondrous deeps of tribulation
Teach us on our God to call,
And His succor in temptation
Gives us honey with the gall.”
FREDERICK W. KEENE,
THE LONE PILGRIM,
Pages 403 thru 407.