by Charles H. SpurgeonSpurgeon on Prayer of Jabez - Part 4
Spurgeon on Prayer of Jabez - Part 4
Even those who are genuinely saved need to pray Jabez' prayer, that they may learn to make a distinction between some things which they think to be spiritual blessings, and others which are blessings indeed.
Let me show you what I mean. Is it truly a blessing to get an answer to your prayer after your own mind? I always like to qualify my most earnest prayer with, "Not as I will, but as You will." Otherwise I might ask for something which it would be dangerous for me to receive. God might give it me in anger, and I might find a little sweetness in the grant, but much soreness in the grief it caused me. You remember how Israel of old asked for flesh, and God gave them quails; but while the meat was yet in their mouths the wrath of God came upon them. Ask for the meat, if you like, but always put in this: "Lord, if this is not a real blessing, do not give it me." "Bless me indeed."
I hardly like to repeat the old story of the good woman whose son was ill - a little child near death's door - and she begged the minister, a Puritan, to pray for her child's life. He did pray very earnestly, but he put in, "If it be thy will, save this child." The woman said, "I cannot stand that. I must have you pray that the child shall live. Do not put in any ifs or buts." "Woman," said the minister, "it may be you will live to rue the day that ever you wished to set your will up against God's will."
Twenty years afterwards, she was carried away in a fainting fit from under Tyburn gallows-tree, where that son was put to death as a felon. Although she had lived to see her child grow up to be a man, it would have been infinitely better for her had the child died, and infinitely wiser had she left it to God's will. Do not be quite so sure that what you think an answer to prayer is any proof of divine love. It may leave much room for you to seek unto the Lord, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed!"
So sometimes great exhilaration of spirit, liveliness of heart, even though it be religious joy, may not always be a blessing. We delight in it, and oh, sometimes when we have had gatherings for prayer here, the fire has burned, and our souls have glowed! We felt at the time how we could sing-
"My willing soul would stay
In such a frame as this,
And sit and sing herself away
To everlasting bliss."
So far as that was a blessing we are thankful for it; but I should not like to set such seasons up, as if my enjoyments were the main token of God's favor; or as if they were the chief signs of his blessing. Perhaps it would be a greater blessing to me to be broken in spirit, and laid low before the Lord at the present time. When you ask for the highest joy, and pray to be on the mountain with Christ, remember it may be as much a blessing; yea, a blessing indeed, to be brought into the Valley of Humiliation, to be laid very low, and constrained to cry out in anguish, "Lord, save, or I perish!"
My God, I will envy no one his gifts or his graces, much less of his inward mood or his outward circumstances, if only You will "bless me indeed." I do not wish to be comforted unless You comfort me, nor have any peace but Christ my peace, nor any rest but the rest which comes from the sweet savor of the sacrifice of Christ. Christ shall be all in all, and none shall be anything to me save Himself.
O that we might always feel that we are not to judge as to the manner of the blessing, but must leave it with God to give us what we would have: not the imaginary blessing, nor the superficial and outward blessing, but the blessing indeed!
Adapted from Sermon No. 994, Volume 17, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, delivered in 1871
To be continued