“He may let me drink a little water, but He’ll never let me sink,” were the words of Bob Draper, lying on his bed with cancer, soon to be at home with his Lord. As I left him that day, several other believers came to mind, who, without doubt, wondered if they would ever get through the waters of suffering and grief.
Presently, from coast to coast on this continent of America, many beloved saints of God are experiencing rising waters of similar trials.In all trials of suffering there is temptation. The bombardments of doubts from the unconvertible flesh within, backed by the insidious lies of our adversary the devil, torment the mind. The current of suffering is strong, the waves seem endless as they batter and roar, and the cold, dark, flood waters just will not go down. We cannot get out, we cannot stop it, and it seems we can only sink and be defeated. “Lord, save me!” comes from our hearts immersed in despair. The future looks so bleak, and the hope of returning to where and what we were in life before the disaster struck seems impossible.
Praying and seeking comfort from the Word of God is challenged by fear and unbelief which say that it is only a bandage rather than a remedy. Darts of doubt from the wicked one fly thick and fast, and the shield of faith to quench them is lost.
Job, crushed, devastated, disfigured, and languishing alone, sought earnestly the presence and deliverance of God. It seemed as though God had forgotten him. He said, “Lo, He goeth by me, and I see Him not: He passeth on also, but I perceive Him not” (Job 9:11).
Chapters 9 and 10 are the expressions of Job’s bitterness against others who did not understand his case and his questions about God’s purposes for his life.At this point he did not know just how completely God was controlling the extent and purpose of his suffering. At verse one of chapter 38 “the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind.”
In the next four chapters God teaches many lessons to Job while he is still in the dark waters of trial. The first six verses of chapter 42 reveal a suffering man reveling in his God. Having restored the shield of faith he says, “Now mine eye seeth Thee and I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” The same chapter tells us of the suffering man emerging from the waters a greater man than before. He has power with God in prayer, (and we need saints who can pray effectively). He also has a different attitude towards those who misunderstood him previously. His influence and usefulness following this tremendous trial were greater than before. His appreciation of God is expressed in the names he gave his daughters. Each name indicates a characteristic of the Lord Jesus.In our trials, beloved saints, let us lean upon the bosom of our heavenly Father (John 1:18).
Our Lord Jesus, while here in this scene, “learned obedience by the things which He suffered,” (Hebrews 5:8), and stated, “My Father hath not left Me alone” (John 8:29). He will bring us through the waters and, without doubt, His purposes will enrich us to minister to others more effectively than before.
Peter reminds us that God does not diminish us in trial but as the trial is accepted from His hand He enriches us for eternal honor to complement Him.Our Lord is our great Shepherd, carrying the wounded lamb, allowing it to rest in His bosom. The lamb thus gains a deeper appreciation of His love and wise hands. He teaches us His love, so when He trusts us to shepherd for Him, we can convey the like character of love.
Dear suffering grieving saints, rest your weary heart upon the bosom of your faithful and all knowing Father. As our body fails and hurts, and our spirit bows down under the affliction of despair, remember His word; “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee” (Isaiah 43:2).
The day of our deliverance is near. In new bodies untouchable by sin we shall serve our wondrous Redeemer, Lord, and faithful Friend. Our New Testament closes with assurance and triumph: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).