The hour-glass of outward happiness soon runs out! Today Job is the richest man in all the east; tomorrow Job is the poorest man in all the world. Yet his heart was like a fruitful paradise when his estate was like a barren wilderness! Though God burnt up his houses yet his palace (his heart) was left standing.
Outward mercies are like the tide which ebbs as well as flows. They are like the sky which sometimes is clear, and at another time clouded. They are like a budding flower which opens on a warm day, and shuts on a cold day. If God bless us in taking as well as in giving; let us bless Him for taking as well as for giving.
That is a choice artist who can play well upon a broken instrument. To be impatient with our affliction and patient with our corruption; is to be angry with the medicine which heals us and in love with the poison which kills us! Beloved, it is sometimes a mercy to us that God removes outward mercies from us! He never wounds a saint to kill him but to heal him! God does but take that out of your hands which would thrust Him out of your heart!
Too many think that God is cutting down the whole tree when He is but lopping off its wasteful branches. They imagine that He is demolishing the superstructure, when He is only laying a right foundation. Poor souls, He is not nipping the flowers but plucking up the weeds! He is not laying your land fallow but ploughing the field!
God's Providence has a beautiful face under a black mask! God has the fairest ends in the foulest ways! The sheep may be dipped in water to wash it when there is no design in the Good Shepherd to drown it!
Christian reader, you may read the marks of a kind Father in the severe stripes of His children. Every twig of His black rod of affliction is but to draw His lovely image upon you!
Job :21 ... And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
John 15:2 ... Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.❤