Open as PDF
George Matheson (1842-1906), while a student in one of the universities of Scotland, was taken with an affliction of the eyes. After a careful examination, a beloved professor friend of his was sent to him with the startling message: "George, if there is any face you wish to look upon, you had better do it quickly, for in three days you will be blind."
What a shock! All of his ambitions and hopes for the future were seemingly dashed to pieces. With a sad heart he sat down and wrote the girl he loved, telling her of his coming misfortune, and asked her to come to him that he might see her face once more. The answer came that broke his heart, and almost ended his life. She wrote that if he was going to be blind, she did not care for him anymore.
With all earthly hopes and joys suddenly gone, he sought consolation in the One who had promised never to leave nor forsake us (1 Sam. 12:22; Matt. 28:20). Out of the darkness and anguish of his heart there came the hymn that has been the means of blessing to many a sad and weary heart the world over:
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee!
I give Thee back the life I owe
That in Thine oceans depths, its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee!
My heart restores its borrowed ray
That in Thy sunshines glow, its day
May brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee!
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust lifes glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms
Life that shall endless be.
In spite of his affliction, George Matheson graduated from the University of Edinburgh with honors and afterward became a minister. Possibly the world might never have heard of him except for the crushing. O its fragrance!
Are we to volunteer for a crushing blow? Not really. Lets go ahead and say no. However, if and when a "crush" takes place, what will our attitude be? Sweet? Sour? Well, lets not be too confident, only apart from the economy of Gods grace.
The Bible says, "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Cor. 12:9). I am simple enough to accept Pauls insight. After all, didnt Paul experience a few crushing blows himself? We know of his Damascus road experience, his shipwrecks, his imprisonments. They were indeed crushing, but emblazoned throughout Pauls experiences is the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit. When men scorn us, and even so-called friends shun us, the Holy Spirit is present to sufficiently strengthen us.
Another biblical character who provides us with a "crushing" experience is JobGods perfect man. Satans insults on Job provide Divine insights on Gods sufficient grace. Job lost allexcept his confidence in God. Thats the secret! Confidence in the sovereign will of God. Even though God permits the crushing of our lives, our hopes and our ambitions, let us always be confident that His stabilizing and strengthening grace can bring out a mellowness and sweetness of character and disposition which can serve as a foundation on which to build a life of faithful service for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our responses to the crushing crises of life show where our souls have been feeding. Our attitudes in the midst of the crushing blows of life provide a weathervane, thus indicating the direction were heading as a result of the crush. Faith, fidelity and a fixed will are capable of erupting into a fragrance so sweet that the crushing blows of life are caked with its substance. How is this all possible? Because His grace is sufficient! Praise His Name!
Gods Revivalist and American Holiness Journal