Adversity and prosperity are divinely balanced against each other with unerring divine skill. In each, respectively, the due proportions are precisely weighed, so lovingly and wisely, that none should say, “It might have been better done!” Christian, I appeal to you: Could it have been better done? Are God’s ways unjust? Have they been so to you?
It is true, your path is chequered–sweet chasing bitter–and bitter chasing sweet, in quick succession. It may be, that bitter is more frequent than the sweet–that your prosperous times are few and far between. Is there no reason for it? Is God’s divine balance, then, deranged? God knows the reason for your adversity–though unknown to you. He faithfully keeps the balance true between your needs–and their supply; between His chastenings–and your good. He cannot be unkind, or unequal, or unjust. Perhaps you cannot hit upon the specific sin, and say, “For this particular sin I am chastened.” But say, my friend–if there is no particular sin, is there no particular lack of virtue in you? Is there no grace to strengthen–no infirmity to check?
God’s ways are always just–His purposes are always wise and loving. How beautiful is His providence! How exquisite is His skill!
Grace is poised against temptation; joys are balanced against sorrows. The lights and shadows of experience thus perfected, and perfecting each other. Were all prosperity–we would be lifted up in pride. Were all adversity–we would faint under the heavy load.
God’s ways are just and equal–look back and see. Had times been pleasant with you, and experience been sweet? How surely they were followed by deadness in the soul! Your joy was gone–you knew not why. Ah! but God knew it. It was the adjusting of the scales, that nothing might be out of balance. Has life gone prosperously? Sooner or later, crosses came–some disappointment, something to bring you down, something or other, counter to your will–it was the adjusting of the scales. And just so with health, and other comforts–God keeps the scales perfectly balanced.
Watch God’s providence in great things, watch it in little things–the events, the thoughts, the feelings of the day. You will always find it just–the balance must be kept. Hence all your variations in the scale of comfort–and the endless shades and vicissitudes of your experience. All this is well-ordered in God’s wisdom, love, and mercy!
In your adversity, consider:
That you deserve it all!
That, had you nothing but adversity, it only were your due!
That every moment free from trouble, is a mercy!
That had the full curse been poured on you–your life would be nothing but sorrow and vexation!
Consider that God afflicts you for your profit–to bring your sins to mind, and lead you to the Cross. Believer, God chastens you in love, to make you a partaker of His holiness. (Hebrews 12:10.) How often have you forgotten Him! But He never forgets you–and thus He chastens you.
Consider, how much you live for the world–how little you live for the Lord!
Consider how earthly, sensual, and devilish is your nature!
Consider your thoughts–how vain!
Consider your service–how unprofitable!
Consider, then, God’s love in chastening you.
Are you in sickness–then consider your many days of former health–all undeserved by you! Consider your many helps in trouble, God’s presence, and His grace–all undeserved by you!
In sleepless nights, consider how many nights you have slept soundly and sweetly–all undeserved by you! Consider Him, who gives you songs in the night–all undeserved by you!
In poverty, consider how all your former needs have been supplied–food, clothing, lodging, and so many comforts–all undeserved by you!
Have you incurred the loss of sight or hearing; loss of limbs, or power of using them? Consider, then, your former powers; how much enjoyment you have had in seeing, hearing, moving, handling–all undeserved by you!
O tried believer, consider, then, that your afflictions are light–and they are but for a moment. They are all ordered in divine wisdom, tenderness, and love! Consider Jesus! what sufferings He endured–all for unworthy you! Then faint not, nor be weary, but consider your “eternal weight of glory”–glory “that far outweighs” all your woes–glory, all undeserved by you!
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all! So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18