What Is God Like?
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10.
We are not to think of God only as a judge and to forget Him as our loving Father. Nothing can do our souls greater harm than this, for our whole spiritual life will be molded by our conceptions of God’s character. . . .
Now let us improve the precious opportunities to become acquainted with our heavenly Father, who “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish. . . .” Wondrous love that God, the infinite God, has made it our privilege to approach Him by the name of Father! No earthly parent could plead more earnestly with an erring child than He who made us pleads with the transgressor. No human, loving interest has ever followed the impenitent with such tender invitations. . . .
His word is pledged. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but His kindness shall not depart from His people, neither shall the covenant of His peace be removed. His voice is heard, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). “With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee” (Isaiah 54:8). How amazing is this love, that God condescends to remove all cause for doubt and questioning from human fears and weakness and takes hold of the trembling hand reached up to Him in faith; and He helps us to trust Him by multiplied assurances and securities. He has made us a binding agreement upon condition of our obedience, and He comes to meet us in our own understanding of things. We think that a pledge or promise from our fellow men, if recorded, still needs a guarantee. Jesus has met all these peculiar fears, and He has confirmed His promise with an oath: “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: . . .” What more could our Lord do to strengthen our faith in His promises?
That I May Know Him p. 262
When Ronnie Jay was a teenager, he was one of the counselors in Pathfinders. One weekend when the group went camping in Oklahoma, he asked Eileen if she wanted to go along. Of course, she did! She was almost sorry, however, when the first night and all the next morning they had heavy rains. Eventually, the weather cleared and so did her spirits.
Sunday there was a planned canoe and rafting trip down the river which Eileen was looking forward to. Unfortunately, the river was now way above flood stage and flowed swiftly. They leader decided to go anyway. Ronnie Jay, who doesn’t like the water much, went on the raft, but Eileen wanted to canoe. The other person in the canoe had never been in one before. That was a little worrisome, but since both of my girls are excellent canoeists, Eileen felt confident. She sat in the back in order to be able to steer, and off they went. Since the other person was inexperienced, she was not paddling correctly. Eileen had to compensate for every paddle-stroke.
Later, she told me she was glad that years ago when Ron had taught her how to canoe, he had paddled in such a way that was very frustrating to her. With every paddle-stroke he was working against her. Gradually, she had learned to overcome his bad paddling and to steer a canoe correctly. That had been his purpose all along. Now, she understood that even though he had appeared to be working against her, he was really helping her to become the type of canoeist that he wanted her to be.
How often it seems like everything is going wrong in our life. We struggle and fight against our situation not realizing that these trials are the very things we need to become the kind of person that our Great Creator longs for us to be. He is using these very unpleasant circumstances to help us to become stronger Christians, to help us stay on His pathway, to help us to rely upon His strength. “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.” Deut. 8:5,6 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Heb 12:11
Yet, even in the troubles He allows to come upon us, He is there mingling them with His great mercy. “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy….He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Ps 103:8-14 Praise God! Through it all, we have the assurance that He loves us with an everlasting love and draws us ever closer to Himself, as Paul reminds us, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Cor 4:17
May the trials that come our way strengthen us to overcome the sins that so easily beset us. May we look to our great and merciful Saviour to “obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16 May we patiently endure these trials and heartaches that we experience now, “knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Rom 5:3-5