Losses and adversities are frequently the means that the Great Shepherd uses to bring home His wandering sheep; like fierce dogs they worry the wanderers back to the fold. Well-fed lions defy our attempts to tame them; they must be brought down from their great strength, and their stomachs must be lowered, and then they will submit to the tamer's hand. How often have we seen the Christian rendered obedient to the Lord's will by the absence of bread and the presence of difficulty. When rich and increased in goods, many professors carry their heads much too loftily and speak exceeding boastfully. Like David, they flatter themselves: "My mountain stands firm; I shall never be moved."1
When the Christian grows wealthy, is in good repute, or has good health and a happy family, he too often admits Mr. Carnal-Security2 to feast at his table, and then if he is a true child of God there is a rod preparing for him. Wait awhile, and perhaps you will see his substance melt away as a dream. There goes a portion of his estate—how soon the acres change hands. That debt, that dishonored bill—how fast his losses roll in; where will they end? It is a blessed sign of divine life if, when these embarrassments occur one after another, he begins to be distressed about his backslidings and turns afresh to God. Blessed are the waves that wash the mariner upon the rock of salvation!
Losses in business are often sanctified to our soul's enriching. If the chosen soul will not come to the Lord full-handed, it shall come empty. If God, in His grace, finds no other means of making us honor Him among men, He will cast us into the deep; if we fail to honor Him on the pinnacle of riches, He will bring us into the valley of poverty. Yet do not faint, heir of sorrow, when you are rebuked in this fashion; rather, recognize the loving hand that chastens and say, "I will arise and go to my Father."3
Family Bible reading plan
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.