The Means of Sanctification
Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that is to become the means of our sanctification. So long as it cannot be said, "The Lord was not in the wind," we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace. Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved, only entreating Him to send forth His grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation that would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer's presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both, so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we.
How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. We may even court trial or death itself if by doing so we gladden Immanuel's heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes trapped in the bottle: The wisdom of God overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result and makes both affliction and consolation produce the grateful aroma of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience what this means.
verse 1 Exodus 12:22 - 51
verse 2 Luke 15
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.