by J. C. Philpot
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Do not expect a smooth and easy path!
(Arthur Pink, "David's Flight")
Prosperity is often a mixed blessing, and adversity is far from being an unmixed calamity!
Alternating spiritual prosperity and adversity, is the lot of God's people on this earth. All is not unclouded sunshine with them--nor is it unrelieved gloom and storm. There is a mingling of both: joys--and sorrows; victories--and defeats; assistance from friends--and injuries from foes; smiles from the Lord's countenance--and the hidings of His face.
By such changes, opportunities are afforded for the development and exercise of different graces, so that we may, in our measure, "know how to be abased--and how to abound . . . both to be full--and to be empty" (Phil. 4:12). But above all, that we may, amid varying circumstances, prove the unchanging faithfulness of God--and His sufficiency to supply our every need.
Ah, my reader, if you are one of God's elect--do not expect a smooth and easy path through this earthly wilderness--but be prepared for varying circumstances and drastic changes. The Christian's resting place is not in this world, for "here have we no continuing city" (Hebrews 13:14). The Christian is a "pilgrim," on a journey; he is a "soldier," called on to fight the good fight of faith. The more this is realized, the less keen will be the disappointment, when our ease is disturbed, and our outward peace harshly broken in upon.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous," and if 'troubles' do not come to us in one form--they most certainly will in another! If we really appropriate this promise--then we shall not be so staggered when afflictions come upon us. It is written that, "it is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22), and therefore we should make up our minds to expect the same, and to "not to think it strange" (1 Peter 4:12) when we are called upon to pass through "the fiery trial." Affliction, tribulation, and fiery trial--are a times, our portion here on earth.
Changing circumstances afford opportunity for the development and exercise of different graces. Some graces are of the active and aggressive kind--while others are of a passive order, requiring quite another setting for their display. Some of the traits which mark the soldier on a battlefield, would be altogether out of place were he languishing on a bed of sickness. Both spiritual joy and godly sorrow--are equally beautiful in their season.
As there are certain vegetables, fruits, and flowers which cannot be grown in lands which are unvisited by nipping winds and biting frosts--so there are some fruits of the Spirit which are only produced in the soil of severe trials, troubles and tribulations!