For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.—Jeremiah 29:11.
My soul! thou art “looking for the mercy of thy Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” This is thy one object, and that one object is centered in Jesus. But in the view of this thou art sadly put to it at times by thwarting providences that seem to come between. It would be a blessed help to thee, hadst thou grace always to keep in remembrance what the Lord saith in this blessed scripture: “I know the thoughts that I think towards you—thoughts of peace, and not of evil.” And how truly fulfilled are these things in the redemption by Jesus! In him the foundation is laid for the accomplishment; and “he is of one mind, and who can turn him?” Be the outward appearances of things what they may, yet the Lord is everlastingly pursuing one and the same invariable plan of mercy. His providences may vary, but his grace never can. It is the deficiency of our faith, and not a defect in the covenant, which makes a believing soul to stagger, and call in question divine faithfulness. “I said,” saith the Church, (at a time when the stream of that river which makes glad the city of God ran low), “I said, my strength and my hope is perished from the Lord.” But how did the Church correct herself soon after! “The Lord is my portion,” saith she, “therefore will I hope in him.” (Lam. 3:18, 24.) It is blessed to rest upon the Lord’s own words, and to give credit to what he hath promised, when, according to all appearances of things, there seemeth an impossibility to the performance of them. This indeed is faith, and faith in her best dress and character. It is no longer faith, when the thing promised is come to pass: this is not trusting God, but receiving payment from God. But when God’s thoughts towards us find, through his grace in our hearts, corresponding thoughts towards him, of his truth and faithfulness, then what ever happens by the way, the soul of the believer is kept in peace, because he knows that he shall have an expected end of peace, and not of evil. Oh! then, for grace to be everlastingly hearing the Lord’s voice in all his dispensations! See to it, my soul, that under all trials, all exercises, all difficulties, be they what they may—as there can be no trial of which Jesus hath not the appointment, no exercise but what he knows, no difficulty that can for a moment alter or interrupt his plan of salvation—oh! learn to lean upon him, and to leave all with him, entertaining and cherishing the same good thoughts of him for ever! for he it is that saith—“I know the thoughts that I think towards you; thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”