(J.A. James, “The Practical Believer Delineated”)
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Strong faith has a firm persuasion of God’s over-ruling Providence–so comprehensive as to include the destinies of empires and worlds; and so minute as to extend to individuals. Strong faith believes that God’s Providence is . . .
ever controlling, and
–all things to His own purposes and plans.
Strong faith is a conviction of this great truth–so deep, so satisfying, and so tranquilizing–as not at all to be shaken by the chaotic aspect of human affairs, or the prevalence of gigantic evils.
A weak faith must give way before . . .
the deep mysteries,
the confounding events,
the defeats of what is good, and
the triumphs of what is evil
–which are perpetually going on in our world’s history.
The stream of Providence is . . .
apparently so murky, and
occasionally so devastating;
that it requires strong faith believe that it is the work of God and not of chance; and that if it is the work of God–it must be just, and wise and good.
In the darkest dispensations of Providence affecting ourselves, strong faith realizes that it is all from God; and must therefore be wise, and just, and good. To be able really say, “It is well. I am sure it is right. I cannot tell how it is right. I do not understand why this deep afflictive Providence came. I can find no key to unlock the mystery. But I am as confident that it is right, as if God’s whole purpose were transparent to my reason, and I could see the event in all its connections, bearings, and results. I cannot see how or why–but I believe that my deep affliction is for God’s glory and my ultimate benefit. I know that God causes everything to work together for good.”
Faith assures us that the darker, the more confounding, the more disappointing events–are all right and just and good.
Strong faith walks on amid shadows and darkness, grasping the arm of God, believing that He is leading us, and will lead us right. Strong faith gives up all into His hands, saying, “I cannot even see a glimmering of light! I cannot see where to place my next step! But I can most implicitly trust in the wisdom, power and truth of God! I follow like a little blind child, grasping the hand of his father!”
Times of great troubles and difficulties, are seasons and opportunities for the exercise of faith. God is always the Christian’s best refuge–and often his only one! He is sometimes reduced to extremity and is compelled to say, “He alone is my rock and my salvation! My help comes only from the Lord! No one else will help me–no one else can!”
Sense and reason both fail. No door of escape presents itself–nor any way of relief. There is nothing left for him to do, but to take up the promise and carry it in the hand of faith, knock by prayer at the door of mercy, and as he stands there to say, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone! My hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation! He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Yes, Lord, You have bid me come, when I could go nowhere else. And here according to your command and promise I will remain–waiting, trembling, yet believing and hoping. I am sure You will come and help me. My heavenly Father knows the necessities of His poor helpless child, and He will come in His own time, and in His own way, and I will wait for him. My bread will be given me, and my water will be sure.”
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