God Teaches Self-Distrust Through Trials
My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. Isaiah 55:8.
The worker for God often regards the activities of life as essential for the advancement of the work. He looks upon himself as a necessity, and self is mingled with all that is said and done. Then God interposes. He draws His child away from the earthly, which holds his attention, that he may behold His glory. He says: “This poor soul has lost sight of Me and My sufficiency. His eye is not fixed upon his Lord. I must throw My light and My vitalizing power into his heart, and thus prepare him to work in right lines. By anointing his eyes with the heavenly eyesalve I will prepare him to receive truth.”
The Lord is compelled to fortify the soul against self-sufficiency and self-dependence, in order that the worker shall not regard his failings as virtues, and thus be ruined by self-exaltation. Sometimes the Lord makes His path to the soul by a process that is painful to humanity; the work of purifying is a great work, and will always cost man suffering and trial. But he must pass through the furnace until the fires have consumed the dross, and he can reflect the divine image.
Those who follow their own inclinations are not good judges of what the Lord is doing, and they are filled with discontent. They see failure where there is triumph, loss where there is gain. Like Jacob, they are ready to exclaim, “All these things are against me,” when the very things whereof they complain are working together for their good. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” ...
Let us consider the experience of Paul for a little. At the very time when it seemed that the apostle’s labors were most needed to strengthen the tried and persecuted church, his liberty was taken away, and he was bound in chains. But this was the time for the Lord to work, and precious were the victories won.
When to all appearance Paul was able to do the least, then it was that the truth found an entrance into the royal palace. Not Paul’s masterly sermons before these great men, but his bonds attracted their attention. Through his captivity he was a conqueror for Christ. The patience and meekness with which he submitted to his long and unjust confinement set these men to weighing character. Sending his last message to his loved ones in the faith, Paul gathers up with his words the greetings from these saints in Caesar’s household to the saints in other cities.—The Signs of the Times, February 21, 1900.
From Reflecting Christ - Page 359