Category : General
Isaiah 49: 4 (KJV)
4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
It is said that apparent failure sometimes is the truest success.
These words bring before us a feeling that belongs to the human heart in all places and times–the complaint of man for frustrated aims. It is not easy to say in what distinct form it is present to the mind of the original speaker here. Sometimes he appears to express the feeling as his own personal experience–a man among his fellow-men–and sometimes he seems to personify the nation to which he belongs. Probably both are struggling together in his heart. The people of his race were selected by God for a great purpose–to hold up His name and knowledge pure and unsullied in the midst of the world’s defections. But the purpose is, for the while, an apparent failure. The world has corrupted those who should have purified it, and God’s judgment has fallen on their unfaithfulness till they are scattered among the heathen and ready to perish. It seems as if Israel’s history were labor in vain.
There are those who have been seeking some personal object in life, and have failed in it, may learn much here. Let us take it for granted that there was nothing sinful in our aim, and that we did not wish for any good, inconsistent with the rights and the happiness of our fellowman. It seems very hard to us that we should be denied what many of them enjoy, and we can scarcely help comparing our lot with theirs, with a sense of bitterness, at least of regret. Here is a more excellent way of it. Instead of putting our life beside theirs, let us refer ourselves to God’s judgment. If we can put the case truly before the Judge and Controller of life, we may find something in our life to correct, and something also that will give comfort. May it not be that we have been making the aim of our life too narrow, even as it concerns our own welfare? We may have been thinking, perhaps, of worldly position and acknowledgment, more than of the building up of our character in what is true and pure and Christ like–more of our outward than of our inward and real life. These failures may be to teach us to begin again, and to aim at a wider basement and a higher top-stone–to take into our soul’s interests, and to let its front look Godward and heavenward. God can teach us how to build on the ruins of former hopes, He can show us how we may take the very stones of them that have fallen and lie scattered around, and may joint them into a new and most beautiful and enduring structure. Friends we may never in this world have the keen thrill of joy our heart once panted for, but a conscious and deep peace will recompense its absence, more satisfying and more abiding, when we put our trust and confidence in the Almighty God.
Have a great and God filled day!