My times are in thy hand—Psa. 31:15.
All of the Lord's consecrated servants devoted their lives to sacrifice when they became followers of the Lamb; and if they could but realize their consecration continually, they would be ready for the consummation at any moment at the Lord's pleasure and by whatever means or channel His providences may permit. The Lord's consecrated ones … are to remember that not a hair of their heads could fall without their Father's knowledge and permission, and the attitude of their hearts should be that expressed by our dear Redeemer. … The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?" The language of their hearts should be that expressed by the poet:
Content whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.
—Z '04, 237 (R 3407).
This statement is true of the whole Church and of its individual members. God has a due time for all things connected with His Plan. Accordingly we see marvelous time features marking the experiences of the Church. The parallel dispensations especially prove this in many details, the exact time being observed to a day. Thus God allows no slips in the time features pertaining to the Church. This same care He exercises toward its individual members. He arranges each experience, attainment, work and privilege at the time that will most glorify Him and profit them—P '32, 150.
Parallel passages: Gal. 4:4; Rom. 5:6; Dan. 9:24-27; 12:11-13; Luke 23:46; John 13:1; 17:1; Acts 1:6; 1 Tim. 2:6; 6:15; 1 Pet. 2:23; Rev. 6:11; 11:2, 3; 14:15.
Hymns: 186, 99, 333, 110, 293, 328, 63.
Poems of Dawn, 105: My Times Are in Thy Hand.
Tower Reading: Z '14, 230 (R 5508).
Questions: What have been this week's experiences as to the text? How were they met? What was their effect?
FATHER, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me;
And the changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see:
But I ask Thee for a present mind
Intent on pleasing Thee.
I ask Thee for a thankful love,
Through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
To wipe the weeping eyes,
And a heart at leisure from itself,
To soothe and sympathize.
I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do,
Or secret thing to know;
I would be dealt with as a child,
And guided where to go.
I ask Thee for the daily strength,
To none that ask denied;
And a mind to blend with outward life,
While keeping at Thy side,
Content to fill a little space,
If Thou be glorified.
"Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."—1 Peter 5:7.
THESE COMFORTING words of the Apostle Peter are addressed to the Church of Christ; and all who are of the Lord's people surely realize that there are cares and difficulties of life which are our portion and which are perplexing. These cares of life come also to those who are of the world—to some more and to some less. But they surely come to all who are the Lord's children.
The word care is used in two different ways. Thinking of the word in the sense of exercising proper thought and giving proper attention to that which is entrusted to us, or concerning which we are responsible, we might be in danger of misunderstanding our text. The word care, however, very often has in it the thought of worry, trouble of mind; and this is its use by the Apostle in this place. The Apostle Paul also says, "Be careful for nothing"—be worried about nothing, have anxiety about nothing. So we might render the words of St. Peter, "Casting all your anxiety upon Him; for He is taking thought for you."
IMPORTANCE OF LITTLE THINGS
The Apostle's advice is not that we shall throw off all sense of responsibility, and cease to exercise care in what we do and in respect to our duties and obligations. Surely we all agree that the man or the woman without care for anything, in this proper sense, would be totally unfit for any position in life. We often notice evidences of some one's not having been sufficiently careful. Perhaps the wall paper has been carelessly marred or the furniture scratched; doors are slammed or left swinging when they should be closed for warmth, etc. Some might say, Oh, these are very small matters! But one who is careless, thoughtless, and inattentive to these matters is very likely to be untrustworthy in larger matters.
Personally, it is painful to us to see these things; and undoubtedly it is so to all who exercise proper care. The children of God, His representatives before men, should not go blundering along through the world or needlessly annoying others, whether it be the brethren or people of the world. Our influence for good may be greatly marred by inattention to what might be called little things, but what in reality are not so. There is a trite saying which is full of meaning: "Trifles make perfection; and perfection is no trifle." The Lord's people should be the most careful people in the world.
Our Lord said, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much"; and the reverse of the statement would be equally true—that he that is unfaithful in that which is least is unfaithful also in much. (Luke 16:10.) These little things of every-day life may prove to be more crucial tests of real character than will seemingly larger matters. Little courtesies, little acts of thoughtful consideration for others, how much they mean! How greatly they often affect the happiness of those around us and our own influence as ambassadors of Christ! So we need to exercise much care and thoughtfulness in regard to our words, our actions and everything with which we have to do. This is not the care that we are to cast upon the Lord for Him to bear. This we are properly to bear ourselves.
OUR EXPERIENCES SUPERVISED BY THE LORD
God is the most careful Being in the Universe, we may be sure. He is not careful, in the sense in which the word is used in our text—in the sense of worry and unrest of mind—but He is care-full in the right and proper sense. There are cares that come to the Lord's people because they are harassed by the Adversary. These experiences the Lord permits for the very purpose of leading His people to cast their care upon Him, of bringing them closer to Himself, of teaching them patient endurance, of showing them more fully their need of Him, their utter helplessness and wretchedness without Him.
But worries and frettings—anxieties that would hinder us in the Lord's service, that would rob us of our peace in the Lord—should be dropped, not carelessly, however, but intelligently, with the thought that Jesus, our great Burden-bearer, has invited us, yea, urged us, to cast all our care—all that would disturb our peace—upon Him. He will make our burden light and ease our tribulations. This is a rest of faith, and cannot be attained otherwise than through faith in His love, faith in His promises.
OUR FATHER'S CARE FOR HIS CHILDREN
Each day that a Christian lives he should be more reliant upon the Lord. He should realize more fully than before that our Heavenly Father, who has provided for the grass of the field and for the birds of the air, cares far more for His children than for the flowers or for many sparrows, and that He has a Plan also for the world—an arrangement for their blessing, in due time. But we have already entered into the blessing of the Lord; we have already become His children, and are His especial care. And "like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him"—those that reverence Him.
We cannot be faithful children of God if we are full of worry. Worry is one thing, but proper carefulness is another. We should be more careful every day, and thus be able to fulfil our obligations to the world in general, to our families, to ourselves, to the brethren, and to the Lord—to render our God more effective service.
We are not to be troubled and anxious as to where we are to get our next suit of clothes. We have a suit of clothing for the present, such as the Lord has seen fit to give; and we are to do our best to provide the things needful. If the Lord should never give us apparel as good as many others have, or as rich or dainty food, we should not worry, but be content with whatever His providence arranges for us, and accept it thankfully. He will give what is best—what is for our good as New Creatures. We should not doubt, nor fear that He will not provide for our needs. He knows all about our affairs, and is not unmindful of our welfare. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."
How needful this humility before God, and how consoling and precious this loving assurance! As we go on in this blessed way marked out by our Lord, let us learn more and more fully that we are not to ask anything according to our wills, but only that His will may be done in us and for us. His Wisdom is unerring. Let us tell the Lord all about our burdens, great and small, and let us appropriate to ourselves His love and sympathy, applying to our hearts the balm of His Word, of the precious promises which are the heritage of His own, trusting Him that He is both able and willing to supply our every need—yea, that He delights thus to bless us, if we abide in His Love.
"How strong and sweet my Father's care!
The words like music in the air,
Come answering to my whispered prayer—
'He cares for thee!'
"Then naught can hurt me, shade or shine,
Nor evil thing touch me or mine,
Since Thou with tenderness Divine
Dost care for me!"