"I will correct you — in measure." — Jeremiah 30:11
Here is a gracious and alleviating "thought of God" in a season of trial, "I will correct you," says He. He does not disguise that He will send affliction — that He will subject His own people to chastisement. He knows them too well — He loves them too well — to allow the unbroken sunshine, the unfurrowed, waveless sea. The rough stone needs polishing — the musical chord must be strained to give forth sweet sounds — notes of harmony; but all is "in measure."
Amid our tossings, night and day, on the sea of trial, how comforting the assurance, "When my spirit was overwhelmed, then You knew my path." He suits the yoke — to the neck; He adapts His chastisements — to the characters and necessities, the strengths of His people. All are meted out, all are weighed in the balances of undeviating rectitude.
There is no needless wrinkle on any brow — no redundant or superfluous drop in the cup of suffering. He who paints every flower and molds every raindrop in the natural world — fashions every tear in the dimmed eye, and imparts every delicate touch and shading to grief.
A human father may err — he may wear a needless frown — he may punish with undue and unnecessary severity, "But thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, which leads you by the way that you should go."
Tried one! seek that this be the end of God's present dealing — that "He teaches you to profit." Too often, in seasons of sorrow, our great aim is to receive comfort. That is a limited and selfish view. God has a higher end — a nobler lesson, "He disciplines us for our profit." Trial is a season for expecting great blessings to ourselves, and for greatly glorifying God. It was from the bruised spices of old that the perfumed clouds of incense arose! The fallen, withered rose, emits the sweetest fragrance — the butterfly shuns it, the bee passes it by — the very rays of sunshine can gild it with no beauty; yet it loads the summer air with richer perfume than when it hung in full-blown glory on its parent branch.
Where the lava stream once carried desolation and ruin down the mountainside, vines are now seen hanging their purple clusters. Just so, where the stream of sorrow once swept distressingly down, are now clusters of heavenly graces — the fruits of righteousness — to the glory and praise of God.
I may not be able at times to see the "measure" in His correction. There may, to the eye of sense, appear nothing but a capricious exercise of sovereign power. No chastening for the present may seem to be joyous but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Oh, let me joyfully endorse every such affliction with an "Even so, Father, because this was Your good pleasure!" "Not my will — but may Your will be done!" "Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs!"