I finished reading Lectures to My Students yesterday. The journey took almost two years and included some breathtaking sights. While creating my index inside the back cover I retread precious, providential, faith-focusing ground concerning how God makes His ministers through difficulties.
Afflictions make sensitive shepherds.
It is of need that we are sometimes in heaviness. Good men are promised tribulation in this world, and ministers may expect a larger share than others, that they may learn sympathy with the Lord’s suffering people, and so may be fitting shepherds of an ailing flock. (155)
These infirmities may be no detriment to a man’s career of special usefulness; they may even have been imposed upon him by divine wisdom as necessary qualifications for his peculiar course of service. (155)
Troubles make clean vessels.
The scouring of the vessel has fitted it for the Master’s use. (160)
Adversities make humble instruments.
Those who are honoured of the Lord in public have usually to endure a secret chastening, or to carry a peculiar cross, lest by any means they exalt themselves, and fall into the snare of the devil. (164)
Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret. Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord. (164)
Instruments shall be used, but their intrinsic weakness shall be clearly manifested; there shall be no division of the glory, no diminishing of the honor due to the Great Worker. (163)
Trials make trusting servants.
Put no trust in frames or feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. (164)
Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you. Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light; faith’s rare wisdom enables a man to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy. (165)