We often think we could do better–if we were directing the affairs of our own lives.
We think we could get more happiness and greater good out of life–if things were in our hands.
We would at once eliminate all that is painful and unpleasant in our lot.
We would have only prosperities, with no adversities; only joys, with no sorrows.
We would exclude all pain and trouble from our life.
Our days would all be sunny, with blue skies–and no clouds or storms.
Our paths would all be soft and easy, and strewn with flowers–without thorns or any rough places.
Would we not be happier–if we could direct our own affairs, and leave out the painful, the bitter, the adverse, and the sorrowful?
So most of us would probably say at first, before we have thought of the question deeply and looked on to the end. But really the greatest misfortune that could come to us in this world–would be to have the direction of the affairs, and the shaping of the experiences of our lives, put into our own hands!
We have no wisdom to know what is best for ourselves. Today is not all of life–there is a long future, perhaps many years in this world, and then immortality hereafter. What would give us greatest pleasure today–might work us harm in days to come. Present gratification might cost us untold loss and hurt in the future.
We want pleasure, plenty, and prosperity–but perhaps we need pain, self-denial, and the giving up of things that we greatly prize.
We shrink from suffering, from sacrifice, from struggle–but perhaps these are the very experiences which will do the most good for us, which will best mature our Christian graces, which will fit us for the largest service to God and man.
We should always remember that the object of living in this present world, is not merely . . .
to have unlimited pleasure and comfort,
to get along with the least trouble,
to gather the most we can of the world’s treasures,
to win the brightest fame.
We are here to grow into the beauty of Christ, and to do the portion of God’s will that belongs to us!
There is something wonderfully inspiring in the thought, that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives, for each life. We do not come drifting into this world–and do not drift through it like waves on the ocean. We are sent from God, each one of us with a divine plan for his life–something God wants us to do, some place He wants us to fill. All through our lives, we are in the hands of God, who chooses our place and orders our circumstances, and makes all things work together for our good–and His glory.
It is the highest honor that could be conferred upon us, to occupy such a place in the thought of God. We cannot doubt that His way for us is better than ours–since He is infinitely wiser than we are, and loves us so. It may be painful and hard–but in the pain and the hardness, there is blessing.
Of course we may not know all the reasons there are in the divine mind, for the pains and sufferings that come into our lives, or what God’s design for us in these trials is. Yet without discovering any reasons at all, however, we may still trust God, who loves us with an infinite love—and whose wisdom also is infinite!
When we get to heaven, we shall know that God has made no mistake in anything He has done for us, however He may have broken into our plans–and spoiled our pleasant dreams!
It should be reason for measureless gratitude, that our lives are not in our own poor foolish hands–but in the hands of our infinitely wise and loving Father!
“My times are in Your hands!” Psalm 31:15
(J.R. Miller, “The Lesson of Love” 1903)