|Octavius Winslow Archive|
What a great little book Octavius Winslow wrote, Help Heavenward; I would really like to encourage you to read it. Grace Gems has the whole book on line; and believe me, the chapters are short and full of encouragement for the believer.
Here are my favorite quotes and some of my reflections on chapter 5, Trial, a Help Heavenward.
“That we must through much tribulation enter into the
kingdom of God.”— Acts 14:22.
If God's providence has you going through a season in your life which is characterized by trial, be encouraged today as you read the words of this godly man that reminds us that trials in the life of the believer are a blessing, because they draw us closer to God.
"We should have a more vivid conception of the power of affliction as an ingredient of holiness if we kept more constantly in remembrance the fact that all the afflictive, trying dispensations of the believer are covenant dispensations— that they are not of the same character nor do they produce the same results as in the ungodly. They are among the “sure mercies of David.” In the case of the unregenerate, all afflictions are a part and parcel of the curse, and work naturally against their good; but in the case of the regenerate, they are, in virtue of the covenant of grace, transformed into blessings, and work spiritually for their good. Just as the mountain stream, coursing its way, meets some sanative mineral by which it becomes endowed with a healing property, so afflictions, passing through the covenant covenant, change their character, derive a sanctifying property, and thus become a healing medicine to the soul."
How different are these words than the ones preached in many pulpits today! How comforting it is to know that because of God's Grace, because He has called us to be in His covenant, trials help us heavenward. He is with us, He is working in us through each one of those trials. It is all about our relationship with Him; our sanctification, our loving Him more than anything in this world. It is about being able to say, "The Lord is Shepherd I SHALL NOT WANT..."
"Trial, too, increases our acquaintance with Christ. We know more of the Lord Jesus through one sanctified affliction than by all the treatises the human pen ever wrote. Christ is only savingly known as He is known personally and experimentally. Books cannot teach Him, sermons cannot teach Him, lectures cannot teach Him; they may aid our information and correct our views, but to know Him as He is, and as we ought, we must have personal dealings with Him. Our sins must bring us to His blood, our condemnation must bring us to His righteousness, our corruptions must bring us to His grace, our wants must bring us to His fullness, our weakness must bring us to His strength, our sorrow must bring us to His sympathy, and His own loveliness and love must attract us to Himself. And oh, in one hour, in a single transaction, in a lone sorrow, which has brought us to Jesus, who can estimate how rapidly and to what an extent we have grown in a knowledge of His person and work, His character and love? I need not enlarge upon other branches of spiritual knowledge which trial promotes—how it increases our personal intimacy with God as our loving Father and Friend; and how it opens our understanding to discern the deep things of God in the Scriptures, so that the Bible in the hour of affliction appears like a new revelation to us. Oh yes, times of trial are times of growth in experimental knowledge."
Trials are seasons in which we can know Him in a way that we would not know Him otherwise. Trials are seasons in the life of the Christian where he can not only see what is inside of him, but he can also meet God in a new and beautiful way through fervent prayer.
"Trial quickens us in prayer, and so effectually helps us heavenward. The life of God in the soul on earth is a life of communion of the soul with God in heaven. Prayer is nothing less than the Divine nature in fellowship with the Divine, the renewed creature in communion with God. And it would be as impossible for a regenerate soul to live without prayer, as for the natural life to exist without breathing. And oh, what a sacred and precious privilege is this!—is there one to be compared with it? When we have closed the door,—for we speak now of that most solemn and holy habit of prayer, private communion,—and have shut out the world, and the creature, and even the saints, and are closeted in personal, solemn, and confiding audience with God, what words can portray the preciousness and solemnity of that hour! Then is guilt confessed, and backslidings deplored, and care, unburdened, and sorrow unvailed, and pardon sought, and grace implored, and blessings invoked, in all the filial trustfulness of a child unbosoming itself in the very depths of a father’s love, pity, and succour. But precious and costly as is this privilege of prayer, we need rousing to its observance. Trial is eminently instrumental of this. God often sends affliction for the accomplishment of this one end—that we might be stirred up to take hold of Him."
When trials come, let us see an opportunity to grow in our devotions, to be drawn closer to the One who loves us with perfect love and works all things for good in the life of His children. Let us rest in His arms through prayer and the meditation of His Word; let us see beyond ourselves and up to Him, who is able to sustain us and present us blameless at the day of Christ before God, the Father.
"Trials are necessary to wean us from the world. Perhaps nothing possesses so detaching, divorcing an effect in the experience of the Christian as affliction. The world is a great snare to the child of God. Its rank is a snare, its possessions are a snare, its honours are a snare, its enterprises are a snare, the very duties and engagements of daily life are a snare, to a soul whose citizenship is in heaven, and whose heart would fain be more frequently and exclusively where Jesus, its treasure, is... But God in wisdom and mercy sends us trial to detach us from earth, to lessen our worldly-mindedness, more deeply to convince us how empty and insufficient is all created good when His chastening is upon us, to intensify our affection for spiritual things, and to bring our souls nearer to Himself."
May God open our ears to hear His Word of comfort today and eyes to see Him sustaining us through the storm.
Let this trial detach me from the world,
transfer my heart to Thee,
Thanks to Matthew Blair @The Octavius Winslow Archive, who invited his readers to read this wonderful book.