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XXIV

EVILS THAT NEVER ARRIVE

“Who shall roll us away the stone?”—Mark xvi. 3.

THIS needless anxiety may stand as a common type of innumerable worries concerning difficulties which never arrive. How anxiously these women had grappled with the disturbing problem of their own weakness! They yearned to do the last love-service to the dear Body of their Lord. “But who will roll us away the stone? We shall not be able to move it! And no one will be about at that early hour! It will be still dark and the gardener will not have come to his work! We may take our spices to the grave, but the stone barrier will mock our weakness, and we shall have to turn home again!” And so they fretted and worried, and they saw no way out. And, still fretting and worrying, they went to the tomb. “And they found the 92 stone rolled away from the sepulchre. For the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door.” All their worry had been quite unnecessary. The difficulty which they had foreseen never arrived.

And that is only one example of countless others in which we bother about things for which our Father had made ample provision. The angel has already received his commission, and at the appointed time he will remove the stone. But still we are inclined to worry all along the way. When we are converted by the saving grace of Christ we are often seriously troubled and anxious about the new road. We are fearful as to how it will fare with us when the tempter straddles across the way. And what about the Slough of Despond? How shall we get over it? And how shall we be able to climb the hill Difficulty? And with many other such fretful questions we worry our hearts. And they are all needless burdens which we are fashioning for ourselves. There is an angel ministry in all these things. But the trouble is we forget the angel, and whenever we leave the angel out of the reckoning we see 93insuperable barriers everywhere, and we are sore afraid. The angel is before us on the road, and when we come to the fearful place we shall find that his work is done.

How many believers in Christ wonder how their faith will stand when sickness comes, or when old age creeps on, or when they see the shadow of death stealing across the familiar fields to their own house door! How will it be when sorrow comes round us like a threatening flood? We worry as to whether we shall be able to stand in the fierce current, and, having done all, to stand. Who has not known these forebodings? We look forward to some possible Gethsemane, but the trouble is we forget the angel who ministers in that garden of gloom. “And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” We forget that gracious willing angel, as we are inclined to forget all the secret ministries which are appointed to serve us in dark places. They are in the wilderness of temptation just as they are in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Behold angels came and ministered unto him.” If we leave the angel out of our thinking the stone will appear an overwhelming 94hindrance. But if we think of the angel we can quietly believe that the stone will be rolled away. And so shall it be with the last great fear. We wonder what will happen to our faltering spirits when we come to the dark river. Everything seems so uncertain, and no one has come back to bid us be of good cheer. Oh, yes, Someone has come back, and He says to us: “Peace be unto you! When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee.”

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