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of one of God's dear children. You love your heavenly Father, and yet His afflicting hand is upon you. Fear not: your Saviour is near you; you have the comfort too of feeling that everything, even your present suffering, is working a far more “exceeding and eternal weight of glory." These stormy waves are bearing you up all the nearer to heaven. How blessed is it to feel that it is a Father's hand that is smiting you. He holds the rod, and not one blow too many will fall upon you. There is love and mercy in every
stroke. Oh, it is better, far better, to be one of God's afflicted ones, than to be one of the world's favoured ones. Blessed are they that weep now, for they shall be comforted.
We often fancy that our own trials are harder to bear, than those which fall to the lot of any one else. The truth is, when we ourselves are called upon to suffer, we can then taste every single grain of bitterness that is in the сир. Each separate cut makes us smart; and therefore our own wounds have a pang, which we imagine others do not feel. This is a very natural mistake; but we should take care that it does not lead us to have hard thoughts of God, and to fancy that we are of all men the most miserable.
Instead of giving up ourselves to our sorrow, it is good to feel that there are other mourners in the world besides ourselves. It is good to remember how many blessings are still left to us; how much heavier are the afflictions of others, and how much heavier might have been
our own! Above all, it is well to carry up our thoughts to that best and most tried of sufferers, who so meekly and cheerfully endured the very essence of anguish for our sakes, and who seemed to say to us, as He hung upon the cross, “ Is it nothing to you,
pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me?" It is a great secret, a happy discovery, if we can go, and lay our troubles in the bosom of our Lord, and find in Him a peace which shall dry up every tear. Alas, poor Naomi!
Her heart was full of sorrow; but there was a “needs be” for all she suffered. Many years before, she had walked through the streets of Jerusalem with a happy countenance, in the enjoyment of this world's comforts, and the smiles of many friends. She now returns to it, poor and sorrowful; having lost her partner and her children, and all that seemed to make this life worth having. And yet, if Naomi is now in heaven, do you think she feels that she had one pang too many, or one sorrow too heavy? Does she feel that God dealt harshly with her ? Oh, no; it was the discipline she needed, the kind chastisement of a loving Father, who, whilst he thus weaned her from earthly things, desired to see her heart fixed on better things above.
Naomi's change of condition must have been a great trial to her; to feel
hough once so well off, she almost an object of charity; some, who used to be her
friends, now looking coldly upon her. It was hard to bear this; but grace supported her; aye, and taught her an important lesson too—that the smiles and friendships of men are but brittle reeds to lean upon, but that God is an unchanging, real Friend, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, a Friend born for adversity.
Reader, have you found this Friend, this tried Friend, this Friend in need ? Christ is the penitent's Friend, the Comforter of the sorrowful, the Friend of the friendless. Learn to go to Him in every trial, and to shelter yourself in Him, when dangers threaten you. Then will your sorrow be turned into joy. In your darkest hours you will feel that there is light. And though you may see every earthly comfort, one