by C. W.
Part 2 of 2
There are things that test our
humility. There are plenty of people who for
their own purposes will flatter us and try to
make us think that we are great personages or
that we have done some great thing. They will
praise us and "make over" us generally for some
selfish purpose. If we heed what they say, we
may become puffed up over it, and come to esteem
ourselves more highly than we ought. If we do
something that is praiseworthy, we very often
find within ourselves a feeling of having done
so well that we become elated over it. This also
is a test of our humility. Let us keep our feet
on the ground no matter how much God blesses us.
No matter how much praise comes to us, no matter
how many things are said in our favor, let us
keep balanced, and let not our humility be
turned into pride.
There are things that test our
love. Can we love God just as much after he has
let us pass through a hard trial as we did
before? If our brethren do something to wound
us, can we still love them? If people
misunderstand us and attribute wrong motives to
us, can we still love them? These are the tests
that count. These are the tests that test love.
These are the things that prove whether it is
genuine or not. If we are despised and
persecuted, misrepresented and abused, can we
still love? If people are our enemies, can we
still love them?
There are trials that test our
steadfastness - whether we will just stand still
and suffer and endure until God sees that it is
enough and takes us out of the fire. Other
things test our patience. These are often very
small tests, and the smaller they are, the more
they test our patience. Sometimes we need to
keep a good hold upon ourselves and "let
patience have her perfect work," that we may be
"perfect and entire, wanting nothing." No matter
in what way we are tested, if we have a will to
be true God will see to it that we have grace to
trust him, so that we may overcome and be "more
than conquerors through him that loved us"
The Value of Trials
Peter tells us that the trial of
our faith is "much more precious than the gold
that perisheth, though it be tried with fire" (I
Peter 1:7). The question that now confronts us
is whether we place such a value as that upon
our trials. What will men undergo to get gold?
They will scale lofty mountains and wade through
deep snows. They will face piercing winds and
all sorts of perils, if they may but have the
hope of getting gold. Our trials are still more
precious than gold, and it seems that we ought
to be willing to bear them when we view them
from that standpoint. However, there are a great
many Christians who shrink from trials. Why do
they? If they believe that trials are so
valuable, why do they shrink? Ah, that is the
trouble: they do not believe what Peter said.
They can see no gold in their trials. They see
no value in them whatever. They are something to
be gotten away from.
The trouble is that we often look
at the wrong thing. If a man goes after gold and
looks at the hardships instead of the gold, he
will not get any gold. But the gold-hunter does
not look at the things that lie between him and
the precious metal. He looks at the gold. He
keeps his mind and his heart upon that. He
presses forward through everything to gain that
gold. There is gold for you and me in every
trial. The trial lies between us and the gold.
If we look at the trial, we may forget the gold,
and that is just what is the trouble with so
many. They can see nothing but the trials.
Beyond these lies the gold, yes, something far
more precious than gold. Get your eyes off the
trial. Look beyond it to the gold. Keep your
mind and your heart set upon the gold, and you
will find that you can face the trial a great
deal easier than if you saw nothing beyond it.
The gold of Christian character comes only
through stress and storm. Fair-weather
Christians never amount to much for God or
souls, nor do they develop rugged characters.
They are always contented with little fruit.
Results of Trials
God always works out something
worth while from our trials if we are true in
them. He does not try us merely to be trying us.
He has a definite purpose to accomplish. Of
Israel he said, "Who fed thee in the wilderness
with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he
might humble thee, and that he might prove thee,
to do thee good at they latter end" (Deuteronomy
8:16). The humbling and the proving were only
that he might do them good at the latter end. So
it is with us: God humbles us and tries us just
to do us good later. God's purpose is also made
very plain in the parable of the figs in the
twenty-fourth chapter of Jeremiah: "Thus saith
the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good
figs, so will I acknowledge them that are
carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent
out of this place into the land of the
Chaldeans, for their good. For I will set mine
eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them
again to this land: and I will build them, and
not pull them down; and I will plant them, and
not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart
to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall
be my people, and I will be their God: for they
shall return unto me with their whole heart"
(verses 5-7). God did not permit them to be
carried into captivity simply as a punishment.
It was that, to be sure; but his purpose was
greater and more kindly than that. It was that
he might do them good - that they should turn to
him with their whole heart, and that he should
bring them back to their own land and make them
a holier and more trusting people than before.
Job knew the good that was going
to come out of his trial, and he said, "He
knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried
me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10). The
Psalmist learned this same lesson. He says: "O
bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of
his praise to be heard: which holdeth our soul
in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried
us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into
the net; thou laidst affliction uon our loins.
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we
went through fire and through water: but thou
broughtest us out into a wealthy place" (Psalms
66: 8-12). This is the way the Bible speaks
throughout when it speaks of trials well borne.
We may get into a net, and affliction may be
laid upon us; men may ride over our heads; we
may go through fire and through water; but the
outcome of it will be that we shall come out
into a wealthy place. And then, like the
Psalmist, we can say, "Oh, bless our God!" Take
your Bible and read also James 1:12; I Peter
1:7; and 4:12, 13.
There is another text that we
shall do well to study over and over: "But we
glory in tribulations also; knowing that
tribulation worketh patience; And patience,
experience; and experience, hope; And hope
maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is
shed abroad in our hearts" (Romans