Taken and adapted from, “A Treatise on Keeping the Heart”
Written by, John Flavel.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
–Romans 8:28 (ESV)
It would much support your heart under adversity…
…to consider that God by such humbling providences may be accomplishing that for which you have long prayed and waited. And should you be troubled at that? Say, Christian, have you not many prayers depending before God upon such accounts as these; that he would keep you from sin; reveal to you the emptiness of the creature; that he would mortify and kill your lusts; that your heart may never find rest in any enjoyment but Christ? By such humbling and impoverishing strokes God may be fulfilling your desire. Would you be kept from sin? Lo, he has hedged up your way with thorns. Would you see the creature’s vanity?
Your affliction is a fair glass to discover it…
…for the vanity of the creature is never so effectually and sensibly discovered, as in our own experience. Would you have your corruptions mortified? This is the way: to have the food and fuel removed that maintained them; for as prosperity originated and fed them, so adversity, when sanctified, is a means to kill them. Would you have your heart rest nowhere but in the bosom of God? What better method could providence take to accomplish thy desire than pulling from under thy head that soft pillow of creature lights on which you rested before?
And yet you fret at this…
…peevish child, how you do try thy Father’s patience! If he delay to answer your prayers, you are ready to say, he regards you not; if he does that which really answers the end of them, though not in the way which you expect, you murmur against him for that; as if, instead of answering, he were crossing all your hopes and aims. Is this ingenuous? Is it not enough that God is so gracious as to do what you desire: must you be so impudent as to expect him to do it in the way which you prescribe?
It may support your heart, to consider that in these troubles God is performing that work in which your soul would rejoice, if you would see the design of it.
We are clouded with much ignorance, and are not able to discern how particular providences tend to the fulfilment of God’s designs; and therefore, like Israel in the wilderness, are often murmuring, because Providence leads us about in a howling desert, where we are exposed to difficulties; though then he led them, and is now leading us, by the right way to a city of habitations. If you could but see how God in his secret counsel has exactly laid the whole plan of your salvation, even to the smallest means and circumstances; could you but discern the admirable harmony of divine dispensations, their mutual relations, together with the general respect they all have to the last end; had you liberty to make your own choice, you would, of all conditions in the world, choose that in which you now are.
Providence is like a curious piece of tapestry…
…made of a thousand threads, which, single, appear useless, but put together, they represent a beautiful history to the eye. As God does all things according to the counsel of his own will, of course this is ordained at the best method to effect your salvation.