April 22

“He knoweth the way that I take.” Job 23:10

Believer! What a glorious assurance! This way of thine—this, it may be, a crooked, mysterious, tangled way—this way of trial and tears. “He knoweth it.” The furnace seven times heated—He lighted it. There is an Almighty Guide knowing and directing our footsteps, whether it be to the bitter Marah pool, or to the joy and refreshment of Elim.

That way, dark to the Egyptians, has its pillar of cloud and fire for His own Israel. The furnace is hot; but not only can we trust the hand that kindles it, but we have the assurance that the fires are lighted not to consume, but to refine; and that when the refining process is completed (no sooner—no later) He brings His people forth as gold.

How it would take the sting from many a goading trial, to see what Job saw (in his hour of aggravated woe, when every earthly hope lay prostrate at his feet)—no hand but the Divine. He saw that hand behind the gleaming swords of the Sabeans—he saw it behind the lightning flash—he saw it giving wings to the careening tempest—he saw it in the awful silence of his rifled home.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Thus seeing God in everything, his faith reached its climax when this once powerful prince of the desert, seated on his bed of ashes, could say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” (Streams in the Desert)

I sat across the plastic folding table from a wiry, acne scarred eighth grader in a Green Bay Packers jacket. The reference to professional football looked out of place on the anything-but athletic teenager, and he sat in front of me at an awkward angle appearing uncomfortable and withdrawn. Fresh off a win in my first game of the Murray County Chess Open, I was confident to finish off the kid and walk away with first place. Playing white, I moved first. For the first ten or so moves he simply mirrored my own, convincing me he was just learning the game and unable to decide for himself where to place his pieces. My confidence grew.

Thirty minutes into the game it became apparent I had misjudged my young opponent’s ability. A few clever combinations averted my attack and put me on the defensive; I was forced to work hard to end in a draw when I should have won. I was clearly frustrated, but what annoyed most was the off-hand comment by the man I beat earlier, identifying exactly where I went wrong and the moves I should have made to win. On closer examination I had to admit he was correct, and it perturbed me to no end that he saw what I had failed to recognize. Perspective is everything.

The great challenge for every disciple is learning to trust first, and then to see. When we reverse the order, we lead frustrated lives lacking purpose and contentment. “Wherever the providence of God may dump us down, in a slum, in a shop, in the desert, we have to labour along the line of His direction. Never allow this thought—‘I am of no use where I am,’ because you certainly can be of no use where you are not! Wherever He has engineered your circumstances, pray” (Oswald Chambers). Find it in your heart to worship Christ in every circumstance, and He will help you understand in time His purposes in it all.

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