John Ross Macduff – The Comforting Assurance

J.R. Waller, MBA

The John Ross Macduff devotional The Comforting Assurance is taken from The Words of Jesus: Devotionals for Quiet Evenings by John Ross Macduff and published by The Greater Heritage.

About John Ross Macduff

John Ross Macduff, D.D. (1818-95) was a minister for the Church of Scotland. He studied at the University of Edinburgh and went on to hold pastoral positions at Kettins in Forfarshire (modern day Perth and Kinross), St. Madoes in Perthshire (modern day Perth and Kinross) and Sandyford in Glasgow. He was a noted hymn writer and prolific and popular devotional writer. Macduff earned Doctor of Divinity degrees from the Universities of Glasgow and New York.

The Comforting Assurance

Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, –

32) Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.Matthew 6:32(KJV)

THOUGH spoken originally by Jesus regarding temporal things, this may be taken as a motto for the child of God amid all the changing vicissitudes of his changing history. How it should lull all misgivings; silence all murmurings; lead to lowly, unquestioning submissiveness – “My Heavenly Father knoweth that I have need of all these things.”

Where can a child be safer or better than in a father’s hand? Where can the believer be better than in the hands of his God? We are poor judges of what is best. We are under safe guidance with infallible wisdom. If we are tempted in a moment of rash presumption to say “All these things are against me,” let this “word” rebuke the hasty and unworthy surmise. “Where can the believer be better than in the hands of his God?”Unerring wisdom and Fatherly love have pronounced all to be “needful.”

My soul, is there aught that is disturbing thy peace? Are providences dark, or crosses heavy? Are spiritual props removed, creature comforts curtailed, gourds smitten and withered like grass? – write on each, “Your Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” It was He who increased thy burden. Why? “It was needed.” It was He who smote down thy clay idol. Why? “It was needed.” It was supplanting Himself; He had to remove it! It was He who crossed thy worldly schemes, marred thy cherished hopes. Why? “It was needed.” There was a lurking thorn in the coveted path. There was some higher spiritual blessing in reversion. “He ‘prevented’ thee with the blessings of His goodness.”“Seek to cherish a spirit of more childlike confidence in thy Heavenly Father’s will.”

Seek to cherish a spirit of more childlike confidence in thy Heavenly Father’s will. Thou art not left unbefriended and alone to buffet the storms of the wilderness. Thy Marahs as well as thy Elims are appointed by Him.[1] A gracious pillar-cloud is before thee. Follow it through sunshine and storm. He may “lead thee about,” but He will not lead thee wrong. Unutterable tenderness is the characteristic of all His dealings. “Blessed be His name,” says a tried believer, “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet” (literally, “equalleth” them,) “he equalleth them for every precipice, every ascent, every leap.” “Thou art not left unbefriended and alone to buffet the storms of the wilderness.”

And who is it that speaks this quieting word? It is He who himself felt the preciousness of the assurance during His own awful sufferings, that all were needed, and all appointed; that from Bethlehem’s cradle to Calvary’s Cross there was not the redundant thorn in the chaplet of sorrow which He, the man of Sorrows, bore.[2] Every drop in His bitter cup was mingled by His Father: “This cup which Thou givest me to drink, shall I not drink it?” Oh, if He could extract comfort in this hour of inconceivable agony, in the thought that a Father’s hand lighted the fearful furnace-fires, what strong consolation is there in the same truth to all His suffering people!

What! One superfluous drop! One redundant pang! One unneeded cross! Hush the secret atheism! He gave His Son for thee! He calls Himself “thy Father!” Whatever be the trial under which thou art now smarting, let the word of a gracious Saviour be “like oil thrown on the fretful sea;” let it dry every rebellious tear-drop. “He, thine unerring Parent, knoweth that thou hast need of this as well as all these things.”


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[1] See Ex. 15:23-27.

[2] A “chaplet” is a wreath hat. He is referring to Jesus’ crown of thorns.

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