Evening Reading for September 26

John 17:11-16
Suggested further reading: 1 Kings 19:1-9

Christ does not wish his believing people to be taken out of the world, but to be kept from the evil of it.

We need not doubt that our Lord's all-seeing eye detected in the hearts of his disciples an impatient desire to get away from this troubled world. Few in number and weak in strength, surrounded on every side by enemies and persecutors, they might well long to be released from the scene of conflict and to go home. Even David had said in a certain place, `Oh, that I had wings like a dove, then would I flee away and be at rest!' (Ps. 55:6). Seeing all this, our Lord has wisely placed on record this part of his prayer for the perpetual benefit of his church. He has taught us the great lesson that he thinks it better for his people to remain in the world and be kept from its evil than to be taken out of the world and removed from the presence of evil altogether.

Nor is it difficult on reflection to see the wisdom of our Lord's mind about his people, in this as in everything else. Pleasant as it might be to flesh and blood to be snatched away from conflict and temptation, we may easily see that it would not be profitable. How could Christ's people do any good in the world, if taken away from it immediately after conversion? How could they exhibit the power of grace and make proof of faith and courage and patience, as good soldiers of a crucified Lord? How could they be duly trained for heaven and taught to value the blood and intercession and patience of their Redeemer, unless they purchased their experience by suffering? Questions like these admit of only one kind of answer. To abide here in this vale of tears, tried, tempted, assaulted and yet kept from falling into sin, is the surest plan to promote the sanctification of Christians and to glorify Christ.

For meditation: The Lord does not promise to preserve us from trouble, but through troubles.

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ