by J. A. James (very comforting)
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His little retreat, his shrine and his idol
(James Alexander, "Consolation" 1852)"
In this world you will have trouble." John 16:33
"You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble!"Psalm 59:16
The heart knows its own bitterness; and sometimesthe sharpest arrow is rankling just where otherscannot perceive it. Many are the afflictions of therighteous--some of the sorest are not catalogedin books, or rehearsed in sermons.
Times of trouble have not ceased from our world.In such times, we need some refuge, stronghold and solace.
The hiding-places of men are discovered by affliction. Ungodly men, being afraid of God, and feeling that they are at enmity with Him, go anywhere else for solace in affliction. Some turn to worldly business, and buy and sell with redoubled activity; some count up the idols that remain, and plan new enterprises; some go into vain company, read vain books, or flutter through the dance of superfluous amusements; some have been known to enter the sty of drunkenness.
Troubles drive each one to his refuge. Each has his little retreat, his shrine and his idol, which he seeks at such times.
And the child of God has his refuge--and runs into it in times of trouble! Above the raging of the floods, when all around is alarm, he hears the voice, as of a trumpet, saying from the refuge--"Come, My people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by." And emerging from the waves, he responds, "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful, because I come to You for safety. In the shadow of Your wings I find protection until the raging storms are over!" "Whenmy heart is overwhelmed within me, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. That is why we are not afraid even when the earth quakes or the mountains topple into the depths of the sea! The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge!" "You are my hiding place!" Here is a refuge--to which believers actually resort in times of trouble.
To the believer, God is not merely a retreat--but anabode; not a refuge just found out when troublesurprises--but a habitation to which he has learnedcontinually to resort; not a temporary shelter--buta stronghold, where he dwells, and where he loves to dwell.
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