Chapter 4. A Paradox of Providence

(From the book ‘A Basket of Summer Fruit‘ by Susannah Spurgeon)

“He brought us out, . . . that He might bring us in.” Deuteronomy 6:23


“Dear Lord, this is a paradox of Your providence, which both manifests and magnifies the glorious sovereignty of Your grace! Give us such true and tender trust in You, that Your “dealings” may never perplex or terrify us; but, rather, be the openings and discoveries of Your covenant love. Let us learn to read Your ways with us, as a skillful reader interprets a choice book, seeing the sentences in advance, as it were, and thus rendering a clear and continuous impression of the author’s mind and purpose.”

The lesson set before us may be, “He has torn, He has smitten,” “He makes sore, He wounds;” and, in our own experience, we may feel how painful is the truth thus taught. But if the eye of faith can discern the precious postscripts which follow, “He will heal,” “He will bind us up,” “His hands make whole,” we are strengthened to endure patiently the trial which is so sure to end in triumph; and we say, “Ah, Lord! You do but frown—to make Your smile the sweeter! You do kill— only that You may make alive! Blessed wounding, gracious suffering, which places us under the great Physician’s love and care!”

“Tis worth the tearing to be tended
By hands so gentle in their touch;
Pains and griefs are sweetly ended;
Can I praise You, Lord, too much?”

“He brought us out.” This is another aspect of the same subject, though, of course, it primarily refers to the deliverance of the Israelites from their cruel taskmasters. But, sometimes, Egypt is not such a land of bondage to us—as a country of carnal delights, where we desire to remain because our affections are entangled, and our hearts are firmly tethered there—by the cucumber and melon vines of worldliness and vanity. These quickly close around us, overshadow us with a confusing dimness, and effectually fetter all spiritual growth and aspiration. We must be “brought out” of such a sad condition if we are really the Lord’s people—so He cuts loose those clinging tendrils, destroys our gourds, and leads us into the wilderness, that He may there teach us to serve Him; and, after a while, “bring us in” to His own land, the Heavenly Canaan.

He must “bring us out” of self, and sin, and Satan’s slavery, before He can “bring us in” to holiness, pardon, and the liberty with which Christ makes us free. Many a time has the Lord had to disturb our nest, and “bring us out” of some earthly refuge which was becoming too easy and too dear to our soul. But, as music sounds the sweetest when heard across the waters—so do God’s dealings make the purest harmony in our hearts, when they reach us over the waves of affliction and trial. When a tried and tempted soul stays itself on God, and sings in the midst of the flood or the fire, such praise must, methinks, be more glorious and glorifying to Him and His mighty grace, than the hallelujahs of unfallen angels.

“He brought us out.” Mark the tenderness of our dear Lord and Shepherd; He does not “drive” us either way—”in” or “out.” No! “The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4. God grant that this may be true of you and I, dear reader! May we never hesitate to go where He leads, or think any road too rough or dark—when we hear His dear voice calling us to come!

And who can imagine what the “bringing in” will be, by-and-by, when, after all the toils, and pains, and sorrows of the earthly pilgrimage—we reach the Father’s house, and all tears are wiped away, and we enter on the blessedness which knows no ending!

Those of us, whose dearest and best-beloved have already “crossed the flood,” are often wondering what their inheritance is like, and what the “eternal weight of glory” means to them; but our loftiest flight of imagination must fall far short of the glorious reality. Not until the Lord brings us out of the river of death, and brings us into Emmanuel’s Land—can we know the joy that awaits us there!

I remember hearing of a dear saint of God who, when dying, was asked if he had any fear. “No,” said he, “I have no fear, for Christ has saved me by His precious blood; but I am conscious of feeling an absorbing and solemn curiosity—I am impatient to learn the secrets of Heaven, and to know for myself the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Dear soul, he had not long to wait, for, very quickly, the gates opened—and he went in!

 

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