Was it so even in the beginning? Did light and darkness divide the realm of time in the first day? Then it should be no surprise if I have also changes in my circumstances from the sunshine of prosperity to the midnight of adversity. It will not always be the sunshine of noonday, even in my soul; I must expect at times to mourn the absence of my former joys and seek my Beloved in the night. I am not alone in this, for all the Lord's loved ones have had to sing the mingled song of judgment and mercy, of trial and deliverance, of mourning and delight. It is one of the arrangements of divine providence that day and night will not cease either in the spiritual or natural creation until we reach the land of which it is written, "there will be no night there."1 What our heavenly Father ordains is wise and good.
What, then, my soul, is it best for you to do? Learn first to be content with this divine order and be willing, with Job, to receive evil from the hand of the Lord as well as good. Then work at beginning and ending your days with joy. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises and for the gloom of evening as it falls. There is beauty in both sunrise and sunset; sing of it, and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, sound your notes at all hours. Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously against the darkness of grief. Continue your service under all circumstances. If in the day your watchword is work, at night exchange it for watch. Every hour has its duty; so continue in your calling as the Lord's servant until He shall suddenly appear in His glory.
My soul, your evening of old age and death is drawing near; do not dread it, for it is part of the day, and the Lord has said in essence, "I will cover him all the day long."
What more can I add to this? Nothing. This devotional says everything I have felt and reaffirms God's divine hand in my life. Even in the midst of trials, I have experienced joy that can only be explained by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I have been strengthened by Paul and the thorn in his side. Did God not love him enough to take it away? Was God unable to relieve him of his misery? No, God could have healed him and could have changed his circumstances but he knew that Paul's life would be a more effective witness if the thorn remained. And so it is today. There is incresing joy in being used by God. In the midst of tribulation there can be abounding joy if you choose to allow God to use that trial for his glory. Spurgeon summed up this joy in the most beautiful and poetic language. There is a song of joy just waiting to spring forth, if only we will allow the inconceviable joy, given freely by God, to indwell in our hearts.