Saturday, January 19, 2013
"Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!"
"When my anxious thoughts multiply within me--Your comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:19
"Your comforts delight my soul!" Blessed Lord, how sweet is this text in my mouth! The taste of it is "like wafers made with honey." It is both food and drink to my heart, for every word has joy and refreshing in it; so that, like the "best wine" of the Canticles, it "goes down sweetly."
The first of Your comforts, gracious God, is this--that You have said unto my soul, "I am your salvation!" He savesus, not because of any merit in us, or any deservings of our own; but because sovereign grace chose us, and Divine compassion redeemed us. And when we were afar off, infinite pity brought us back, and made us near by the precious blood of Christ. This may well comfort our hearts--coming as it does directly from "our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace!" A saved and pardoned sinner can truly say, "Your comforts delight my soul!"
The next thought is that, having saved us--He keeps us. "We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." Comparatively few Christians put God's keeping power fully to the test. If we would trust Him for thekeeping, as we do for the saving--our lives would be far holier and happier than they are. "I will keep it every moment," is one of those grandly unlimited promises which most of us are afraid of; and we store them away in the background because we dare not believe them, and bring them out into the light of our daily practice. O foolish and unbelieving hearts, how much of soul-delighting comfort do we thus miss!
Then comes another thought--He cares for us. Dear friends, if you are His, you know the exceeding comfort of casting all your care upon Him--and being quite sure that He will "undertake" for you. Have we not often come to Him oppressed and burdened with an intolerable weight of anxiety and distress--and been enabled to roll the whole mass of it on Him, leaving it all at His feet, and returning to our work with a lightened and restful heart? Some of us have had burdens and sorrows, which would have crushed the very life out of us--if we had not been enabled to look up and say, "You, O Lord, have helped and comforted me!" Yes, truly, God's care for us is one of the sweetest comforts of our mortal life!
Closely linked with this, is the thought that He knows all about us. Our enemies--sometimes, even our friends--misunderstand and malign us; they misconstrue our words and actions, and impute to us motives which never actuated us. But our God knows the thoughts and intents of our heart, and never makes a mistake in the judgment He passes on us. The comfort of this knowledge on the Lord's part, to those who are "suffering wrongfully," is inexpressibly precious. They can lift up their heads with joy, and say, "The Lord is good. He knows those who trust in Him." I have known this comfort to so delight my soul, that trials and temptations had no power to vex or annoy it, for my soul was hidden "secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues."
Lastly (though there are many, many more), one of the multitude of thoughts which stand out prominently from the rest, as a comfort which delights the soul--is that He loves us. This truth has been running through the fields of previous thought, as a silver streamlet glides through the meadows--here, it would deepen and expand to a broad and fathomless ocean, had I the power to speak of its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, and to tell of the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge! But my pen utterly fails here. You who love Him, and know that He loves you--must each one say to himself what that "comfort of His love" is to your own heart. This will be a better commentary than any I can offer.
And, if some poor distressed soul is mourning the loss of the sweet consolation which Christ's love alone can give--let him call to remembrance a tenderly precious promise which the Lord put into the lips of the prophet Isaiah, "I have seen his ways--but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him!" Isaiah 57:18