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“Behold, we count them happy which endure.” (James 5:11)
Faith counts them happy who patiently endure trials, as Job, the saints, and prophets of old did. But why? Upon what grounds do we count them happy? Enduring their trials, God’s saints find themselves compelled to cling tightly to God their Savior; and that brings them into closer, sweeter communion with him.
And that is our happiness! We are happy, indeed, when we are admitted into the inner chambers of him whom our souls love. When our sorrows more fully reveal to us the Man of Sorrows, we are happy. When our griefs cast us upon the heart of our God, our griefs make us happy. When our troubles take us to the Throne of Grace, there we find that which makes us happy.
Little chicks in the sunshine run all over the yard, pecking and gathering whatever they find. But if a hawk appears in the sky, the mother hen calls them with a sharp alarm. Immediately, they perceive the danger and run under her wings for safety. God’s saints are like those chicks. — He was a much afflicted man who wrote, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psalm 91:4).
One of the most delicious of sensations outside of Heaven is to fall helplessly into the arms of Christ! We find strength in helplessness, joy in submission, rest in resignation, and peace in surrender! Anything which gives new life to prayer, brings us to the Throne of Grace, and renews communion with our God is so great a gift that, “we count them happy which endure.”
Besides all that, the Lord has a choice way of manifesting himself unto his servants in their times of weakness. He draws the curtain around the bed of his chosen and, at the same time, as if it were shutting out the rest of the world, he shows himself through the lattices of grace to his beloved. In the fiery furnace we walk in the company of a Man like ourselves, who is the Son of God. And we never lose anything in the furnace, but the fetters that bind us.
There is no place in all our pilgrim journey more needful for our souls than the Valley of Humiliation. The tops of the Delectable Mountains are wonderful, exhilarating spots, from which we sometimes see the Golden City. But those are heights too steep for our trembling feet to stand firmly upon them. The valley suits us better, though flesh and blood find it hard to go downhill. Here our dear Savior manifests himself to his chosen as he does not to the world. Therefore “we count them happy which endure.”
Once more, “we count them happy which endure,” because “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Oh, what glory awaits us on the other side! And that glory awaiting us is made all the more glorious by “the trial of our faith!”