If there is a great mountain of sorrow or difficulty in your way, dear friend — do not be cast down by the darkness of its shadow. Your God can either make a way for you through it — or He can guide you around it — or, just as easily, He can carry you right over it!
- Encouragement from Heaven to Keep Going.
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There is nothing too hard for Him! Expect Him to make the crooked things straight, and to bring the high things low; and while you keep humbly at His feet, He will work wondrously, and you shall see His salvation!
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Why then, need I worry or tremble? That great, loving, powerful hand keeps all the events of my life sealed and secure within its almighty clasp! And only He, my Maker and my Master, can permit them to be revealed to me as His will for me. What a compassionate, gracious arrangement! How eminently fitted to fulfill that sweet promise of His Word, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You!
But, as they have developed gradually and silently, how great has been the love which appeared enwrapping and enfolding each one!
Have not the comforts and consolations — exceeded the crosses and complaints? Have not all things been so arranged, and ordered, and undertaken, and worked out on our behalf — that we can but marvel at the goodness and wisdom of God, in meting out from that dear hand of His — all the "times" that have passed over us? You agree with me in all this, do you not, dear reader? Then, I beg you, apply it to your present circumstances, however dark or difficult they may be.
They have come directly from your Father's hand to you, and they are His dear will for you! So far had I written when, on suddenly, God sent to me a "time" of such severe and prolonged pain , that my pen fell from my fingers, my words and counsels turned their faces inwards, and became a crowd of witnesses — rather than a band of exhorters. I hope they have seen some quiet submission to the will of God, some patience, some restful faith in every detail of God's dealing with me; but, alas!
I have been brought very low. The gnawing, tearing teeth of pain have fastened themselves upon me, and night and day I have been held fast in their terrible grip. I sought to know what lesson He would teach me by this physical suffering. But no direct answer came to my question, and again and again the lesson was "returned" as yet imperfectly learned.
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Sometimes, all connected thought vanished, and a bewilderment of sorrow took possession of me; yet not one moment did the great Physician leave me; I was in distress — but never in doubt. Day after day, and night after night, the pain continued; but, often, in my weakness, I remembered what I had been trying to write of before the trial came, and I would whisper, "My times are in Your Hand!
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My times are in Your hand! This is Your doing, O Lord, so it must be a right 'time', however sad it may seem to me! One day, the post brought a strange, round parcel, which was carried to my bed-side. This was more easily said than done, the wrappings were so voluminous. At last, a lengthy scroll, beautifully illuminated, was drawn out; and as it was unrolled, it was seen to bear the simple but significant Words — "God Never Makes a Mistake!
It was as if some sweet far-off echo of God's love had suddenly embodied itself before me. My soul leaped forward to embrace the blessed truth, and found solace and strengthening, as from the hands of a ministering angel. How it soothed and comforted me!
Encouragement from Heaven to Keep Going
By how small a thing, sometimes, does God send uplifting to His children, when He has cast them down! By how gentle a remedy can "He give His beloved sleep! My groaning is not hidden from You! One of the strongest and sweetest consolations which God gives to His sick and afflicted ones, is the assurance that He not only "knows their sorrows," and tenderly sympathizes with them in their griefs — but that the appointment of every trial proceeds from Him, and that its whole course and continuance are watched by Him with infinite love and care.
As a physician keeps his finger on a suffering patient's pulse, that he may know just the limit to which pain may be safely endured — so does our God hold our right hand, while we are passing through the furnaces of trial which lie on our road to Heaven, that He may support us through them, and bring us forth in due time to praise Him for His comforting and sustaining grace! This text came as a precious cordial to my fainting spirit, as I lately lay upon a bed of languishing.
Awaking at a very early hour one morning, during my recent illness, I found myself in an extremity of bodily pain and anguish. I tried to pray — but rational thought was an impossibility; groans and tears were the only expression I could give to my suffering — and even these were subdued and hushed, lest the sleeping household should be disturbed. Then, some blessed, heavenly ministrant whispered the sweet message to my soul, "Your God knows all about you!
He sees your grief, He hears your groans! There is a telephone from your lips — to His heart, and every sigh is recorded there!
No darkness, no distance, no dividing distress of any kind — can separate you from His constant care. He would spare you every one of these sore pains — were it not that He sees that they are working some ultimate blessing for you. Yield yourself absolutely to His will and appointment — and you will find peace even in pain. So I praised Him with sighs and groans, and in silence; and I felt that the tears which ran down my cheeks were all "put into His bottle," for He came very near to me, and "as one whom his mother comforts," so did He comfort me.
He did not then remove my pain — but He so strengthened me to endure it, and to rest patiently in Him, that I look back on those hours with joy, as a season of hallowed communion with my God.
To all the Lord's sorrowful and afflicted ones, whether their groans are on account of sin, or sickness, or anguish of heart — I pray that my experience may be an encouragement. Do remember, dear friend, that the God you love, the Master you serve — is never indifferent to your grief, or unwilling to hear your cry! David said truly, "I will be glad and rejoice in Your love — for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul! In time of trouble, the soul is greatly helped by cherishing great thoughts of God; they are sure to induce.
And thus, being filled with His fullness — we soar above and beyond all the earthly distractions and disturbances which surround us, and seek to cast us down. Pain, whether bodily, mental, or spiritual — is always unwelcome; and at first sight, wears an aspect which alarms and discomforts us.
But it is often an angel in disguise; and many a time we have found that, underneath its terrible exterior, there are hidden. As a night without stars, so is my soul, O Lord, if You hide Your face from me! My feet falter, my steps are uncertain, my hands grope as at midnight, my heart is oppressed by an unspeakable fear and dread. O blessed Light of my life, what has caused You to withdraw Yourself?
Why are You hidden behind these thick clouds, so that I cannot rejoice in You? O my Lord, this indictment is all too true; but I have acknowledged my transgressions: "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. You know my cry goes daily, almost hourly, up to You: "O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed! My soul is also sore vexed — but You, O Lord, how long?
Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for Your mercies' sake! Not for long can such a prayer, if sincere, remain unanswered. The Lord does not delight to keep His children in prison. He has but been waiting that the soul's transgression and exceeding need of pardon, should be recognized and confessed, and then He turns to deliver and bless.
Andrew Murray says, "The true victory over sin is this — if the light comes in — the darkness is expelled. Lord Jesus, blessed Savior, it is the light of Your reconciled countenance, which I need to "end this grief of sin; "it is Your personal presence within my heart, which alone can make my peace flow as a river. Waiting soul, is He sure to come? Yes, truly; more surely than that tomorrow's sun will arise upon this world when the hours of darkness have fulfilled their mission — will "the Dayspring from on high" visit those whose eyes are looking, and whose hearts are longing for Him, and His glorious beams of grace.
But there was a time — do you not remember it, O my soul?
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Rather, far rather, would we be mourning over our distance from Him, and languishing for the manifestation of His sweet presence, than that He should ever again be to us only "as a root out of a dry ground," "without form or loveliness. Let us thank God for opening our eyes, as a necessary preparation for seeing the light. We would never have prayed, "Lord, make Your face to shine upon Your servant," if we had not seen the "thick cloud" of our transgressions which intervened between Him and our soul's vision of His splendor.
I feel as if I were writing today, for someone whose spiritual experience answers to my own, and I have the hope that such a one will be comforted by "the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God. Cry for, and claim, the incoming of the Light of Life.
He will be to you "as a light that shines in a dark place;" and, before you have finished reading these words, you may hear Him say, "In a little wrath, I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you. Moses was in the immediate presence of the Most High when he prayed thus, yet with what holy boldness does he press his suit, and what gracious acceptance does he find at the hands of the Lord!