Counsel and Comfort
James Smith, 1865
“Hope in God.” Psalm 42:5
Fellow-Christian, we live in trying times. Nations are convulsed, thrones are tottering, crowns are falling, confusion reigns, and men’s hearts are failing them for fear! We cannot but feel; but we ought not to fear. There is enough to make us watch and pray — but not enough to deject or cast us down. The Lord reigns. Our Savior has all power in Heaven and in earth. He directs every event, and will overrule every occurrence for the fulfillment of his word, and the good of his beloved people. “He works all things after the counsel of his own will.” Men may rage, infidels may blaspheme, professors may murmur, and real Christians may be filled with alarm; but He says, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” The Lord sits above the water-floods, he remains King forever! Therefore, let no man’s heart fail him. Let us look to the divine word. Let us look out for the Lord’s hand. There is the rainbow of mercy in every cloud; but only the eye of faith can discern it.
Beloved, are you passing through storms, tempests, and trials? Hope in God — whatever your trial may be.
Are you sick? He will make your bed, and sanctify your pain.
Are you poor? He will answer your prayers, and supply your need.
Are you sorrowful? He will comfort you, and give you joy for your sorrow.
Are you tempted? He will not allow you to be tempted above that you are able to bear.
Are you bereaved? He will be better to you than ten children. He will be a father to the fatherless, and a husband to the widow. He is a friend that loves at all times, and ever lives to manifest his friendship.
Are you in perplexity? He will bring the blind by a way which they knew not, and make your way plain before you.
Do you imagine that your trials are singular? He assures you that no temptation has taken you but such as is common to men, and he bids you not to think it strange concerning the fiery trial that is to try you.
Do you doubt your interest in Jesus, and your title to the promises? Read his sweet invitations, cast yourself afresh into his arms, and still hope in his mercy. Whatever may be your trial, whether inward or outward, personal or relative, spiritual or temporal, still “hope in God.”
Hope, and do not fret, though the wicked prosper, and everything seems to be against you.
Hope, and do not murmur; for you have a thousand mercies more than you deserve, and more than some of your fellow-pilgrims.
Hope, and do not despond; for all things shall work together for your good; your God has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm.
Hope, and do not forebode; for light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
Hope, and do not complain; for your Lord forewarned you of all that has happened. He told you that in the world you should have tribulation — but in him you should have peace.
Hope, and do not dread; no, not even death: for he who has delivered does deliver, and he will yet deliver you. He has delivered you in six troubles, and in seven he will not forsake you.
Hope in God — for he is gracious, merciful, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. He is faithful to his word. He is full of love to his children. He is pledged by his word to be a father to you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you. He will surely do you good, and do you good even by your present trials and troubles.
Hope in God — for he has an infinite variety of blessings to bestow. He has all you need — and has it for you. He has all you ever will want — and he will supply all your need. He has all you can consistently desire — and he will fulfill the desire of those who fear him; he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
Hope in God — for he has said to the coming sinner, “I will never cast out.” To the tried saint, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain you.” To every believer, “My grace is sufficient for you.” To the weary, way-worn pilgrim to the celestial country, “Your shoes shall be iron and brass, and as your days so shall your strength be.” To each Christian, “I will never leave you, I will never, no never, forsake you!”
Hope in God — for he will do as he has said; yes, he will do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. He will make all his goodness pass before us, and show us great and mighty things which we know not.
Hope in God — for you may; his invitations warrant you.
You ought; for his commands lay you under obligation.
You should; for his promises are exceedingly great and very precious.
Hope, then, in God —
not in circumstances — however favorable;
not in creatures — however kind;
not in events — however propitious;
not in connections — however encouraging;
not in evidences — however bright;
not in prospects — however blooming.
Hope in God —
when you read his word,
when you attend his ordinances,
when you face his foes,
when you circulate his truth,
when he hides his face,
when your comforts wither,
when your gourds die,
when your friends forsake you,
when your foes slander you,
when your health declines,
when poverty approaches,
when storms gather,
when Satan assaults, and
when death stares you in the face!
Hope — and be not dismayed. Let hope be . . .
the helmet that guards your head;
the anchor that steadies your vessel;
the friend that holds up your head when the water-floods overflow you.
In a word, at all times, in all places, under all circumstances — hope in God, for you shall yet praise him, who is the health of your countenance and your God!