Tuesday, March 6, 2012
More and More of Blessing
(Today's devotional from J. R. Miller)
“Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”
The world gives its best first and the worst comes afterwards. It is so in all sinful pleasures— first exhilaration and then bitter remorse. It is so in the chase for wealth, power, fame — gratification first, and then painful disappointment. At first money brings gladness, a sort of satisfaction; but as time rolls on and wealth increases, cares multiply, anxieties thicken, burdens grow heavier, and at last the rich man finds that in all his riches he has less comfort than he had in the days when he was a poor boy. It is so in all mere worldly ambitions. The first cups of fame are sweet, but soon they pall upon the taste. This truth holds especially in the sinful life. We need not deny that at the beginning sin is sweet, but bitterness is found at the bottom of the cup. In grace, however, this is reversed; the good wine is kept to the last. Christ himself had humiliation, darkness, and the shame of the cross, then exaltation, power, glory.
In Christian life the same law holds. First there comes bitterness, but out of the bitterness sweetness flows. There is the deep sorrow of penitence, but this gives way to the blessed joy of forgiveness. First there are self-denial and cross-bearing, but out of these experiences comes a holy peace that fills all the heart. Sorrows are to be endured, but the good wine of comfort is poured into the emptied cup. There is also a constant progression in the blessings of the divine life. We never get to the end of them; indeed we never get to the best. There is always something better yet to come. Then Christ keeps the really best wine to the very last, in heaven. Sweet as is earth’s peace to the Christian, he will never know the fullness of the love of God until he gets home to the Father’s house.