Matthew 11:6; John 16:1 (continued)
Now it will help us if we remember the simple fact, that He knows and does just what is best both for the development an repression of our lives. In reality, He is only unsympathetic with our egotisms. He only seeks to destroy within us anything savouring of self love, self pride, and self sufficiency, and to reproduce in us something of the beauty of His own character. In His contradictions rightly apprehended we may always see the expression of His perfect wisdom with regard to our own highest interests, and the interests also of the Kingdom in which He has given us a share. Then "blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended"; who accepts the direction of Christ as His love, and trusts Him, "when to simply trust Him seems the hardest thing of all."
Beyond these causes is yet another in the slowness of His methods. We come to Him and put our lives under His control, expectant of immediate realization of a deliverance which shall lit us beyond all concern regarding temptation and opposing forces. But how disappointingly slow is this realization; and how hardly won are our victories even when we are re-enforced by His Spirit.
Quite early we find that life is not a song, but rather a strife; that the grace of Christ is not a mere ecstasy but rather an energy which works painfully for righteousness in us; and that it takes all the watchfulness of which we are capable to occupy the ground already conquered, as well as to conquer fresh territory. And the slowness of Christ in this matter of our own spiritual conflicts is often the cause of offence to us. For it disappoints our hopes, and contradicts our misconceptions as to anything like a passive and easy victory over our strong enmities. But in reality, this method, slow though it may seem to us, is the only one He could possibly pursue, having in view the greatness of His purpose and the contrariety of our nature. And every experience of victory, however small and insignificant, is prophetic of an ultimately complete triumph.
If you go into the Observatory at Greenwich you will see there is a delicate instrument, by means of which the astronomers measure the distances of the stars, as well as their magnitude. Upon a sensitive mirror is reflected the light of the star points; and a measurement of the angles at which any two of the rays meet furnishes sufficient data for all the astounding calculations of millions of miles. And so it is in our lives. By estimating what Christ has already done we are assured of His unvarying purpose. Every bit of experience of His power to sanctify, to cleanse, to redeem, to deliver, is prophetic of the whole "that He Who hath begun the good work will perfect it." And if we cling to this fact, we shall find it an inspiration to the steady continuance of faith, and shall not be offended because He works so slowly - and surely.
(continued with # 7)