Letter to a stricken soul
My dear brother,
My heart goes out to you in sympathy in this dark hour, and I feel my helplessness to comfort you. The loss you have sustained is far greater than any human creature can make up--your suffering is too acute for any fellow-mortal to alleviate. I may endeavor to pour into your sorely-wounded heart something of 'the balm of Gilead,' but only the great Physician can give any efficacy to the same. I can do little more than point you to Him who alone can 'bind up the broken-hearted'. Jesus is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Unburden yourself to Him.
May divine grace be given you, so that you shall be enabled to meekly acquiesce unto whatever our all-wise God may appoint. It is in heart-submission to God's providential dealings with us, that true religion largely consists. Your acute sorrow is among the 'all things' which work together for good to those who love God. If the Spirit of God is pleased to sanctify this affliction unto you, it will prove a real blessing in disguise. May I suggest several lines of meditation which, if pursued by you and blessed to you by God, will enable you to improve this affliction.
1. Learn anew the terribleness of sin. 'Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.' (Romans 5:12) Yes, had sin never entered this world, no graves would have ever been dug in it. Every funeral should be a forceful reminder to us of what the Fall has brought in! Every funeral ought to beget in us a deeper hatred of sin. It was sin which necessitated the death of God's beloved Son. Then how we should loathe it, seek grace to resist its evil solicitations, and follow hard after its opposite--holiness.
2. See the great importance of holding all God's temporal mercies with a light hand. The best of them are only loaned us for a season, and we know not how early we shall be called to relinquish them. It is the part of wisdom for us to recognize and remember this while they are in our hands: not to grasp them too tightly, nor to look upon them as ours to enjoy forever in this perishing world. Holy Writ bids us to 'rejoice with trembling', for that which delights my heart this morning may be taken from me before the shadows of night fall. The more I live with this fact before me, the less shall I feel the loss when it comes!
3. Endeavor to get your heart more weaned from this perishing world. 'Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.' (Col. 3:2) But we are slow to heed this exhortation, and often God has to use drastic means to bring us to a compliance with it. It is for our own good as well as His glory, that we do so. It is only heavenly things which abide; then let us seek grace to have our hearts more and more set upon them.
4. Seek to demonstrate the reality of true religion. Only the real child of God is enabled to say, 'The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord.' Earnestly seek supernatural help from above, dear brother, that you may be enabled to manifest the sufficiency of Divine grace to strengthen and support--to show you do have a peace and comfort which the Christless are strangers to. Sorrow not as others do, who have no hope. Doubt not the Lord's goodness. "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalm 55:22
Yours by God's abounding mercy,
A. W. Pink