Manuscript Releases, vol. 10 [Nos. 771-850]


MR No. 805—God's Purpose in Permitting Trials

Rephidim Experiences

Many today think that when they begin their Christian life they will find freedom from all want and difficulty. But everyone who takes up his cross to follow Christ comes to a Rephidim in his experience. God says to His people, Do not imitate the conduct of the children of Israel by showing unbelief when brought into difficulties, for “there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).... 10MR 115.1

But just as the Lord led His people to Rephidim of old, so He may bring us there also, in order to test our faithfulness and loyalty to Him. In mercy to us He does not always place us in the easiest places. If He did, in our self-sufficiency we would forget that the Lord is our helper in our time of necessity. But He longs to manifest Himself to us in our emergency, and reveal the abundant supplies that are at our disposal, independent of our surroundings. Disappointment and trial are permitted to come upon us that we may realize our own helplessness, and learn to call upon the Lord for help as a child, when hungry and thirsty, calls upon an earthly father. 10MR 115.2

Our heavenly Father has the power of turning the flinty rock into a life-giving and refreshing stream. We shall never know, until we are face to face with God, when we shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known, how many burdens He has borne for us, and how many burdens He would have been glad to bear, if with childlike faith, we had brought them to Him. 10MR 115.3

In the hour of need we can gain no power by looking to ourselves. Our eyes need to be anointed with the heavenly eye-salve, that we may discern our spiritual poverty and lack of faith. God is declared in all His dealings with His people, and with clear unclouded eye; in adversity and sickness; in disappointment and in trial, as well as in prosperity, we are to behold the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and trust to His guiding hand. Remember the power and love God has shown us in the past. He “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Then will He not find a way for us out of our difficulties? ... [Ephesians 6:10-16 quoted.] 10MR 116.1

Let everyone who names the name of Christ read this Scripture over and over again, and then inquire: Am I clothed with the whole armor of God, that I may be a successful co-laborer with Christ? The more we know of ourselves, and the more we prove our motives and desires, the more heartfelt will be the consciousness of our own inability to fight the battles of the Lord in our own strength, and the more we will feel the need of having our loins “girt about with truth,” in order that we may have purity of purpose, and know that we are not serving ourselves, but the Lord Jesus Christ. 10MR 116.2

“Above all,” declared the inspired Word, “taking the shield of faith, wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (verse 16). Stablish your hearts in the belief that God knows all the trials and difficulties you will encounter in the warfare against evil, for God is dishonored when any soul belittles His power by talking unbelief. 10MR 116.3

This world is God's great field of labor. He has purchased those who dwell in it with the blood of His only begotten Son, and He means that His message of mercy shall go to everyone. Those who are commissioned to do this work will be tested and tried, but they are always to remember that God is near to strengthen and uphold them. He does not ask us to depend upon any broken reed. We are not to look for any human aid. God forbid that we should put man in the place where God should be. He has promised to help us, and in the Lord Jehovah is “everlasting strength.”... 10MR 117.1

That same Jesus who wrought those mighty works [before the disciples of John the Baptist], is our Saviour today, and is as willing to manifest His power in our behalf as He was in the behalf of John the Baptist. When we are hedged about by adverse circumstances, surrounded by difficulties which it seems impossible for us to surmount, we are not to murmur, but to remember the past loving-kindness of the Lord. Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, we may endure as seeing Him who is invisible, and this will keep our minds from being clouded by the shadow of unbelief.... 10MR 117.2

“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Christ has already proved Himself to be our ever-present Saviour. He knows all about our trials, and in the hour of need can we not pray that God will give us His Holy Spirit to bring to mind His manifestations of power in our behalf? Can we not believe that He is as willing to help us as on former occasions? His past dealings with His servants are not to fade from our minds, but the remembrance of them is ever to strengthen and uphold us. 10MR 117.3

No amount of tribulation can separate us from Christ. If He leads us to Rephidim, it is because He sees that it is for our good and for His name's glory. If we will look to Him in trusting faith, He will, in His own time, turn the bitterness of Marah into sweetness. He can open the flinty rock, and cause cooling streams to flow forth. Then shall we not lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving for past mercies, and go forward with full assurance that He is an ever-present help in time of trouble? He has been with us in our past experience, and His word to us is “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).—Letter 24, 1896, pp. 5-13. (“To the Church at Cooranbong,” May 23, 1896.) 10MR 117.4