God has given to every man his work, and we are to acknowledge the wisdom Of His plan for us by a hearty co-operation with Him. It is in a life of service only that true happiness is found. He who lives a useless, selfish life is miserable. He is dissatisfied with himself and with everyone else.
The Lord disciplines His workers, that they may be prepared to fill the places appointed them. Thus He desires to fit them to do more acceptable service. A life of monotony is not the most conducive to spiritual growth. Some can reach the highest standard of spirituality only through a change in the regular order of things. When in His providence God sees that changes are essential for the success of the character building, He disturbs the smooth current of the life.
There are those who desire to be a ruling power, and who need the sanctification of submission. God brings about a change in their lives. Perhaps He places before them duties that they would not choose. If they are willing to be guided by Him, He will give them grace and strength to perform these duties in a spirit of submission and helpfulness. Thus they are being qualified to fill places where their disciplined abilities will make them of great service.
Some God trains by bringing to them disappointment and apparent failure. It is His purpose that they shall learn to master difficulty. He inspires them with a determination to make every apparent failure prove a success. Often men pray and weep because of the perplexities and obstacles that confront them. But if they will hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end, He will make their way clear. Success will come to them as they struggle against apparently insurmountable, difficulties ; and with success will come the greatest joy.
Again, God sees that a worker needs to be more closely associated with Him; and to bring this about, He separates him from friends and acquaintances. When He was preparing Elijah for translation, He moved him from place to place, that he might not settle down at ease, and thus fail of obtaining spiritual power. And it was God's design that Elijah's influence should be a power to help many souls to gain a wider, more helpful experience.
Let those who are not permitted to rest in quietude, who must be continually on the move, pitching their tent tonight in one place, and tomorrow night in another place, remember that the Lord is leading them, and that this is His way of helping them to form perfect characters. In all the changes that we are required to make, God is to be recognized as our companion, our guide, our dependence.
There are many who are not satisfied to serve God cheerfully in the place that He has marked out for them, or to do uncomplainingly the work that He has placed in their hands. It is right for us to be dissatisfied with the way in which we perform duty, but we are not to be dissatisfied with the duty itself, because we would rather do something else. In His providence God places before human beings service that will be as medicine to their diseased minds. Thus He seeks to lead them to put aside the selfish preference, which, if cherished, would disqualify them for the work He has for them. If they accept and perform this service, their minds will be cured. If they refuse it, they will be left at strife with themselves and with others.
Many are ignorant of how to work for God, not because they need to be ignorant, but because they are unwilling to submit to His training. Moab is spoken of as a failure because the prophet declares, "Moab hath been at ease from his youth, . . . and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither bath he gone into captivity ; therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed."
Thus it is with those whose hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are not purged from them. Their hearts are not cleansed from defilement. They were given an opportunity to do a work for God, but this work they did not choose to do, because they wished to carry out their own plans.
The Christian is to be prepared for the doing of a work that reveals kindness, forbearance, long-suffering, gentleness, patience. The cultivation of these precious gifts is to come into the life of the Christian, that, when called into service by the Master, he may be ready to use his highest powers in helping and blessing those around him.—Ellen G. White, in Signs of the Times, Sept. 23, 1903.