I wonder if you grasp the point. What is God doing with His people?
He is using all these things which are happening, primarily to bring about in His people that conformity to the image of His Son which is to mean Christ in manifestation in an elect people- a people foreordained because foreknown for this very thing.
This thought of God is a delivering thought. How do you pray for the Lord's people in times of trouble? Of course, we are all tempted to pray for their deliverance, to cry to the Lord that they may escape.
It may be right at times to pray thus, but suppose the Lord does not deliver? He does not always deliver at once. He allows the situation to continue, to become long drawn out.
The enemy will encamp upon that fact and give it his own twist and interpretation — 'God is not doing anything; He has left His people, is standing back, is not concerned.' There is no answering voice, no slightest indication that He is taking any account at all.
It is like that very often, and that is a real playground for the enemy. God apparently makes no response.
How shall we be delivered from going to pieces, from being overwhelmed in such a time and under such conditions?
Only by grasping this thought of God; and then we have to begin to pray along other lines. If God does not act to deliver His people, there is a deeper and a higher thought and purpose than their deliverance, and He is at work upon that; and deeply in them He is going to reproduce the patience, the endurance, the longsuffering of Jesus Christ.
If you go right over the whole ground of God's Son perfected through sufferings and can read your Gospels anew and understand Him as He differs so utterly from the standards of men, you can see what God is doing with us His people.
Meekness and gentleness — these are foreign things to our natures; under stress, under adversity, under the cruel hand of tyrannical men, to say, 'Father, forgive'! He could say "I am meek and lowly in heart." Oh, you see — the image of His Son.
Such testing conditions are a terrible challenge to our natural dispositions. Our whole nature revolts against meekness and lowliness and wants to rise up and be even with the other one, or be the master. Our nature does not accept and delight in opposition, antagonism, frustration, persecution, and all such things.
But think — and this is the marvel of Christ in Pilate's hall and before the High Priest — think again. Spat upon, mocked, struck, in every way degraded — and He is almighty and infinite God incarnate Who, with the parting of His lips, the silent lifting of His hand, could have smitten that crowd out of existence!
The centurion was right; when he saw what had happened he was filled with fear and said, Truly this was the Son of God. We have heard of people suddenly discovering their awful mistake and dying of heart failure on the spot.
Think of the shock that has to come yet to those who treated Him as He was treated — when they see Him.
You can understand something of what took place in Saul of Tarsus (who knew all about what had happened in Jerusalem) when he saw Him -"I am Jesus"-saw Him in a brightness above that of the noonday sun.
But my point is this, He accepted and endured all that, going through to the bitter end, letting them hammer nails through His hands and feet and fix Him to the Cross, with all the deriding- He saved others; himself he cannot save... Let (God) deliver him now, if he desireth him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
And He did not stir a finger or utter a word, when twelve legions of angels were standing ready for His aid.
If one angel could smite the host of Sennacherib, what would twelve legions do?
That is meekness and lowliness of heart, and that is what God is trying to effect in us. That is the thought of God; that is going to be glory in God's universe; that will make a world worth living in, and a universe of that nature will be bearable.
God thus works in us; and so the portion we read finds early in it these words —"I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
~T. Austin Sparks~