We Shall Come Out Like Gold
From Pastor Adam: Below is an extended portion of a pastoral letter sent from my historical hero, Robert M’Cheyne, to his church family in Scotland on February 13, 1839. In this letter he gave encouragement from Job 23:10 to those within his flock who were suffering. And so, in my absence, I encourage you with his words from the Word.
Observe, first, “He knoweth the way that I take.” What sweet comfort there is in these words: He that redeemed me—He that pities me as a father—He who is the only wise God—He whose name is love—“He knoweth the way that I take!”…God marks your every step. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way.” He that loves you with an infinite, unchanging love, is leading you by his Spirit and providence. He knows every stone, every thorn in your path. Jesus knows your way. Jesus is afflicted in all your afflictions. “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee. I have called thee by my name, thou art mine. When thou passest through the water, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
Second, “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” This also is precious comfort. There will be an end of your affliction. Christians must have “great tribulation;” but they come out of it. We must carry the cross; but only for a moment, then comes the crown. I remember one child of God’s saying, that if it were God’s will that she should remain in trials a thousand years, she could not but delight in his will. But this is not asked of us: we are only called “to suffer a while.” There is a set time for putting into the furnace, and a set time for taking out of the furnace. There is a time for pruning the branches of the vine, and there is a time when the husbandman lays aside the pruning-hook. Let us wait his time; “he that believeth shall not make haste.” God’s time is the best time. But shall we come out the same as we went in? Ah! no; “we shall come out like gold.” It is this that sweetens the bitterest cup; this brings a rainbow of promise over the darkest cloud. Affliction will certainly purify a believer. How boldly he says it: “I shall come out like gold!” Ah, how much dross there is in every one of you, dear believers, and in your pastor! “When I would do good, evil is present with me.” Oh that all the dross may be left behind in the furnace! What imperfection, what sin, mingles with all we have ever done! But are we really fruit-bearing branches of the true vine! Then it is certain that when we are pruned, we shall bear more fruit. We shall come out like gold. We shall shine more purely as “a diadem in the hand of our God.” We shall become purer vessels to hold the sweet-smelling incense of praise and prayer. We shall become holy golden vessels for the Master’s use in time and in eternity.
Finally, pray that your pastor may come out of his trials like gold. All is not gold that glitters. Pray that everything that is but glittering dross may be taken away, and that, if it be his will, I may come unto you like the fine gold of Ophir. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving, withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ.” My chief comfort concerning you is, that “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”