Reckon it nothing but joy . . . whenever you find yourself hedged in by the various trials, be assured that the testing of your faith leads to power of endurance. (James 1: 2– 3 WEYMOUTH)
God hedges in His own in order to protect them. Yet often they only see the wrong side of the hedge and therefore misunderstand His actions. And so it was with Job when he asked, “Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?” (Job 3: 23). Ah, but Satan knew the value of that hedge! He challenged the Lord by saying, “Have you not put a hedge around [Job] and his household and everything he has?” (Job 1: 10).
Onto the pages of every trial there are narrow shafts of light that shine. Thorns will not prick you until you lean against them, and not one will touch you without God knowing. The words that hurt you, the letter that caused you pain, the cruelty of your closest friend, your financial need— they are all known to Him. He sympathizes as no one else can and watches to see if through it all, you will dare to trust Him completely.
The hawthorn hedge that keeps us from intruding,
Looks very fierce and bare
When stripped by winter, every branch protruding
Its thorns that would wound and tear.
But springtime comes; and like the rod that budded,
Each twig breaks out in green;
And cushions soft of tender leaves are studded,
Where spines alone were seen.
The sorrows, that to us seem so perplexing,
Are mercies kindly sent
To guard our wayward souls from sadder vexing,
And greater ills prevent.
To save us from the pit, no screen of roses
Would serve for our defense,
The hindrance that completely interposes
Stings back like thorny fence.
At first when smarting from the shock, complaining
Of wounds that freely bleed,
God’s hedges of severity us paining,
May seem severe indeed.
But afterwards, God’s blessed springtime cometh,
And bitter murmurs cease;
The sharp severity that pierced us bloometh,
And yields the fruits of peace.
Then let us sing, our guarded way thus wending
Life’s hidden snares among,
Of mercy and of judgment sweetly blending;
Earth’s sad, but lovely song.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 29). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.