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Withstand and Stand!

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When it is again time for a difficulty, our present modus operandi (mode of operation) is irrelevant as related to the outcome of it! The outcome is the same whether we “endure its hardness” (2 Tim 2:3) or have yet to learn to endure, because it has already been purposed for “good” (Rom 8:28). Know this, that every trial teaches the believer something that is related to trusting God’s Word concerning this “goodness.” Considering the outcome is predetermined, what does change is the betterment of how we endure. Though opposition (often from old self) will result in an “evil thought against me, God purposes it for good” (Gen 50:20).

In 1915 Alabama lost 60 % of their cotton crop (primary industry) to the boll weevil and 4 years later tried peanut crops. This not only resolved their economy but also brought prosperity, and out of appreciation Enterprise, AL constructed a statue for a commemorative to the prosperity. The dedication was not to the peanut that saved them—but to the boll weevil that led to the peanut!

There’s nothing that will hinder what God has already planned for your “good” concerning it, and every individual difficulty (nominal or significant) is a test! The good news concerning each testing is that they are always “according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself,” which is “according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (every single thing leads to this),” e.g. the testing always strengthens (never decreases) our faith, which He eventually reveals to each; and this increase of our faith is so that we progressively “grow up into Him (Christ) in all things (Eph 1:9; 3:11; Eph 4:15), thus maintaining the Father’s primary goal of “being conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:28; 2 Cor 3:18).

One important thing this article reminds us of is that when we are comforted “in all our tribulation,” it is also so “that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Cor 1:4).

Withstand and Stand!

Storms, natural scientists tell us, “clear the atmosphere.” But it is only those who outlive the storm who can appreciate that as a moral truth. It would be a poor consolation to a mariner in a sinking ship.

The great thing in a storm is to outlive it. I consider a man has not outlived a storm in the church if he has been driven on the rocks, and stranded high and dry. It has carried him, and made a victim of him. But a man has outlived the storm if he has put his head to the wind, and has hauled down every bit of canvas, and stood out boldly to sea. He knows there is a storm, he has made everything snug on board, and he refuses to be driven by it. He resists, and really only wants to hold his own.

Now, apart from figure, my impression as to your course at this time is that you have to go on, not indifferent to the storm, but refusing to be adversely influenced by it. Your course and progress may be checked, as indeed it must be, but persistent purpose to maintain the course as God has taught it to you will weather the storm.

The difficulty is simply to hold your own, to be as isolated as a ship at sea, and as true to your course as if you had the most prosperous weather. You may feel how small you are, how lonely you are. The fine fleet you set out with may seem to you all dismasted and wrecked, but your safety, remember, may be the safety of many. It is not any great battle deeds you are called on to do, but it is simply to keep yourself safe, to outlive the storm, not to be as one under it in any way (our “safety” and “battles” never have to do with retaining salvation—but growing in the regeneration of it, i.e. “work out [of] your own salvation” – Phil 2:12—NC).

You may reply, this is no easy matter; but there is nothing for which there is not power with God. Go on firmly, not as if there had been no storm, but as if it had not altered you one bit. Yet, you are as inflexibly bound to your post as if there had been no storm, but you are aware all the time how others have suffered and were driven by it.

Your help to them consists in showing them how little it has baffled you; when there comes a lull, if you are safe yourself you can do great service to the wrecked ones. You will not preach navigation to them, but you will minister to their needs, and seek to restore their shattered frames to health and vigor, before you even allude to the bad and ignorant seamanship by which you were so exposed. You will, in fact, gather up the fragments; you will try to articulate the disjecta membra (scattered fragments).

A patient should never be allowed to touch on his malady until he is well of it. Occupy yourself with all the good that remains. When God acts, even in nature, He always separates the precious from the vile. The former is the thing to be preserved, and this, in my judgement, is your path at this time.

- J B Stoney

MJS devotional for September 30:

“Spiritual hunger and thirst are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus, while at the same time they are enlarged for more of Him. This satisfaction overwhelms all lesser longings. Fleshly yearnings are never fulfilled, and every attempt at such satisfaction soon cloys.” - MJS

“Do we think of, and rejoice in, our blessings more than in the Person in whom we have them? As to even our doctrinal blessings, there is a wonderful charm about them when they are new to us, and they sustain the soul for a certain time; but when the first joy of them passes away, a settling-down process commences. Every new bit of blessing may seem to put a new bit of life into us, but it gradually loses its luster and power, and we become just ordinary Christians—we make very little progress.” – CAC
None But The Hungry Heart