Testing Times - The Proof of Love
"Fear not: for God is come to prove you."—Exodus xx. 20.
...If we can only get firmly fixed in our hearts the truth that the Lord's hand is in everything that happens to us, we have found a balm for-all our woes, a remedy for all our ills. When friends fail us and grow cold, when enemies triumph and wax confident, when the smooth pathway upon which we have been travelling suddenly becomes rough, stony, and steep,—we are too apt to look askance at the visible second causes, and to forget that our God has foreseen every trial, permitted every annoyance, and authorized each item of discipline, with this set purpose: "The Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. xiii. 3). O heart of mine, what is thy response to this demand? Dost thou not love Him enough to endure any test to prove it?
I remember once reading words to this effect—that, the moment we come into any trial or difficulty, our first thought should be, not how soon can we escape from it, or how may we lessen the pain we shall suffer from it, but how can we best glorify God in it, and most quickly learn the lesson which He desires to teach us by it? ...The soul that has learned the blessed secret of seeing God's hand in all that concerns it, cannot be a prey to fear; it looks beyond all second causes,straight into the heart and will of God, and rests content, because He rules.
"God is come to prove you'' My soul, think how great must be His love to thee, that He should stoop to search for thy heart's obedience and devotion! Think of the Infinite God, thy Redeemer, longing, desiring, yearning to be assured of thy supreme affection! As He Himself puts it by His servant Moses, —
" Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee, ... to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments or no."
What pains He has taken with thee! How tenderly He has borne with thee! Every trial has been a test, every pain has had a purpose. And can it be that thou art still keeping back from Him the full surrender of heart and life which His Divine love demands? Still lingering and wavering on the borderland of halfheartedness, instead of gladly leaving all to follow Him? Nay, Lord, it shall be so no longer! Help me to give Thee, at this moment, instantly and eagerly, the proof of my love which Thou dost seek, in the submission of my heart to all Thy will, and the entire consecration of body, soul, and spirit to Thy service! Then, every yoke will be made easy, and every burden will become light, for I shall carry them under the firm conviction that my gracious Lord has laid them on me, and is but testing the strength of the love and grace which He Himself has given.