As your days — so shall your strength be." — Deuteronomy 33:25
God does not give grace — until the hour of trial comes. But when it does come — the amount of grace, and the nature of the special grace required, is granted. My soul! do not dwell with painful apprehension on the future. Do not anticipate coming sorrows; perplexing yourself with the grace needed for future emergencies; tomorrow will bring its promised grace — along with tomorrow's trials.
God, wishing to keep His people humble, and dependent on Himself, does not give a stock of grace; He metes it out for every day's exigencies, that they may be constantly traveling between their own emptiness — and Christ's fullness; their own weakness — and Christ's strength. But when the exigency comes, you may safely trust an Almighty arm to bear you through!
Is there now some "thorn in the flesh" sent to lacerate you? You may have been entreating the Lord for its removal. Your prayer has, doubtless, been heard and answered; but not in the way, perhaps, either expected or desired by you. The "thorn" may still be left to goad, the trial may still be left to buffet; but "more grace" has been given to endure them. Oh! how often have His people thus been led to glory in their infirmities, and triumph in their afflictions — seeing that the power of Christ rests more abundantly upon them! The strength which the hour of trial brings — often makes the Christian wonder to himself!
"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." — Isaiah 1:18
My soul! your God summons you to His audience chamber! Infinite purity seeks to reason with immense vileness! Deity stoops to speak to dust! Do not dread the meeting. It is the most gracious — as well as most wondrous of all conferences. Jehovah Himself breaks silence! He utters the best tidings a lost soul or a lost world can hear, "God is in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing unto men their trespasses." What! Scarlet sins, and crimson sins! and these all to be forgiven and forgotten! The just God "justifying" the unjust! — the mightiest of all beings, the kindest of all!
Oh! what is there in you to merit such love as this? You might have known your God only as the "consuming fire," and had nothing before you except "a fearful looking for of vengeance!" This gracious conference bids you to dispel your fears! It tells you that it is no longer a "fearful thing," but a blessed thing to fall into His hands! Have you consented to His overtures? Until you are at peace with Him, happiness must be a stranger to your bosom.
Though you have all else beside, if bereft of God — you must be bereft indeed! Lord! I come! As yourpardoning grace is freely offered, so shall I freely accept it. May it be mine, even now, to listen to the gladdening accents, "Son! Daughter! be of good cheer! Your sins, which are many — are all forgiven!"
John MacDuff (1818-1895)