I received a bit of bad news regarding my health last week. Oh, it could have been much worse, but it was certainly discouraging to say the least. As I have been processing the ramifications of the news, I shared my discouragement with my sister-in-law. She sent me this. It is written by Susannah Spurgeon, wife of the famous C.H. Spurgeon. After doing a little investigating, I found out that Susannah became an invalid around the age of 33. This is an amazing testimony of faith. May we all have this attitude in the midst of trials.
“It shall not seem hard unto thee.”—Deut. xv. 18.
DEAR LORD, I have this morning lighted upon one of the secret springs of sweet waters; an ancient, hidden well in the wilderness, which Thy love, as it were, kept covered up and concealed, till my great need moved Thee to open my eyes to discover it. How precious has Thy thought been to me, Oh Lord! How strengthening and refreshing are these “cold waters to a thirsty soul,” which Thou hast thus made to break forth in a strange place! For I thought I was suffering a hard thing, Lord, in the dealings and discipline which Thou hast seen necessary for me; and, though Thy grace kept me from openly murmuring and complaining, my inner self constantly cried out, “This is hard, Lord, this is very hard.”
But now Thou sayest, “No, My child, it must not even seem hard unto thee. Thy trust in Me should be so perfect, thy faith in My love so strong, thy obedience to My will so complete, that nothing should seem grievous which I appoint, no trial that I send should affright or overwhelm thee. Have I not always been to thee ‘a very present help in trouble’? “Lord, my heart says, “Amen!” to Thy gracious words, and then trusts Thee to work all this loving obedience in me by Thine own mighty power.
“IT shall not seem hard unto thee.” The peculiar trial through which I may now be passing, is the very “it” which must not seem hard to me. God’s bow is never drawn at a venture; He makes no mistakes, either in telling the number of the stars, or in meting out to me the griefs which shall teach me to glorify Him. And, dear reader, if you would find comfort from the words which so comforted me, you must look upon your present trouble, whatever it may be, and say, “Lord, this shall not seem hard to me, for I have received so much bounty and blessing from Thee, I have known so much of Thy pity and pardoning love, that I dare not mistrust Thee, or question for a moment the Divine wisdom of Thy dealings with me.” Ah! our eyes are so dimmed by earth’s fogs and shadows that we cannot see clearly enough to distinguish good from evil and if left to ourselves, might embrace a curse rather than a blessing. Poor purblind mortals that we are, it is well for us that our Master should choose our trials for us, even though to our imperfect vision He seems sometimes to have appointed a hard thing.
III that God blesses turns to good,
While unblest good is ill,
And all is right that seems most wrong,
If it be His sweet will.”
Yes, it is in absolute and loving surrender to the will of the Lord that the secret of true rest and peace is found. This is the alchemy which turns earth’s sorrows into Heaven’s blessings; here is the antidote to every sting, the cure-all of each care, the unfailing remedy for all disquietude. Dear Lord, if I am Thy child, trusting, loving, obeying Thee, how can Thy will for me seem “hard”? Nay, rather, I should joyfully meet and welcome it, well knowing that Thy love to me could only send a message of peace, however dark might be the envelope which enwrapped it.
This comfort cannot apply to troubles which we make for ourselves, and which we sometimes glorify into spiritual hardships, when they are really selfish sins; these are not God’s will for us, but our own perverse way, and they bring nothing better than bitterness and tears. But a God-given burden or sorrow, carried out into the sunshine of His love, and laid at His blessed feet, immediately loses all its “hardness”, and is transformed into a blessing, for which our soul praises the Lord with tender thanksgiving.
“It shall not seem hard unto thee.” Ah! dear Master, it must grievously pain Thy loving heart when we, Thine own redeemed ones, think any of Thy dealings with us harsh or stern. Thou hast loved us from everlasting, Thou didst not spare Thine own Son when a ransom was required for our souls, Thou hast led us, and fed us, and cared for us all our life long; can we be so wicked and ungrateful as to deem anything “hard” which Thy wisdom and love appoint?
“It shall not seem hard unto thee” Since this precious text rippled from the pages of God’s Word, like “a brook by the way,” I have been drinking of its waters with great joy! and when a trouble, great or small, oppresses my soul, and causes my heart to faint within me, I take another draught from this sweet spring, and soon am ready to say, ” ‘Tis no longer hard, Lord, for ‘I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.’ ”