THE TENDER SOLICITUDE
(John MacDuff, "The Words of Jesus")
"The very hairs of your head are all numbered!" Matthew 10:30
What a promise is this! All that befalls you, to the very numbering of your hairs — is known to God! Nothing can happen by accident or chance. Nothing can elude His inspection. The fall of the forest leaf — the fluttering of the insect — the waving of the angel's wing — the annihilation of a world — all are equally noted by Him! Man speaks of great things and small things — but God knows no such distinction.
How especially comforting to think of this tender solicitude with reference to His own covenant people — that He metes out all their joys — and all their sorrows! Every sweet — and every bitter — is ordained by Him. Even "wearisome nights" are "appointed." Not a pang I feel, not a tear I shed — but is known to Him. What are called "dark dealings," are the ordinations of undeviating faithfulness. Man may err — his ways are often crooked; "but as for God — His way is perfect!" He puts my tears into His bottle. Every moment His everlasting arms are underneath and around me. He keeps me "as the apple of His eye." He "bears" me as a man bears his own son!
Do I look to the FUTURE? Is there much of uncertainty and mystery hanging over it? It may be, much foreboding of evil. Trust Him! All is marked out for me. Dangers will be averted; bewildering mazes will show themselves to be interlaced and interweaved with mercy. "He keeps the feet of His saints." Not a hair of their head will be touched.
He leads sometimes darkly, sometimes sorrowfully; most frequently by cross and circuitous ways, which we ourselves would not have chosen; but always wisely, always tenderly. With all its mazy windings and turnings, its roughness and ruggedness — the believer's is not only a right way — but the right way — the best which covenant love and wisdom could select.
"Nothing," says Jeremy Taylor, "does so establish the mind amid the rollings and turbulence of present things — as both a look above them and a look beyond them; above them — to the steady and loving hand by which they are ruled; and beyond them — to the sweet and beautiful end to which, by that hand, they will be brought." "The Great Counsellor," says Thomas Brooks, "puts clouds and darkness round about Him, bidding us follow at His beck through the cloud, promising an eternal and uninterrupted sunshine on the other side." On that "other side" we shall see how every apparent rough blast has been hastening our boats nearer the desired haven.
Well may I commit the keeping of my soul to Jesus in well-doing — as unto a faithful Creator. He gave Himself for me. This transcendent pledge of love — is the guarantee for the bestowment of every other needed blessing. Oh, blessed thought! my sorrows are numbered — by the Man of Sorrows; my tears are counted — by Him who shed first His tears, and then His blood for me! He will impose no needless burden, and exact no unnecessary sacrifice. There was no unnecessary drop in the cup of His own sufferings; neither will there be in that of His people. "Though He slays me — yet will I trust in Him!" "Therefore comfort one another with these words."