(J. R. Miller, “The Beatitude for the Unsuccessful” 1892)
The Bible is indeed a book for the unsuccessful. Its sweetest messages are to those who have fallen. It is the book of love and sympathy. It is like a mother’s bosom to lay one’s head upon–in the time of distress or pain. Its pages teem with cheer for those who are discouraged. It sets its lamps of hope to shine in darkened chambers. It reaches out its hands of help to the fainting, and to those who have fallen. It is full of comfort for those who are in sorrow. It has its many special promises for the needy, the poor, and the bereft. It is a book for those who have failed, for the disappointed, the defeated, and the discouraged.
It is this quality in the Bible, which makes it so dear to the heart of humanity. If it were a book only for the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unfallen, those who have no sorrow, who never fail, the whole, the happy–it would not find such a welcome wherever it goes in the world. So long as there are tears and sorrows, and broken hearts, and crushed hopes, and human failures, and lives burdened and bowed down, and spirits sad and despairing–so long will the Bible be full of inspiration, light, help, and strength–for earth’s weary ones.
The God of the Bible is the God of those who have not succeeded. Wherever there is a weak, stumbling Christian, unable to walk alone–to him the divine heart goes out in tender thought and sympathy; and the divine hand is extended to support him, and keep him from falling. Whenever a Christian has fallen, and lies in defeat or failure–over him bends the heavenly Father in kindly pity, to raise him up and to help him to begin again. The God of the Bible is the God of the weak, the unsheltered. Their very helplessness of His children, is their strongest plea to the divine heart.