Our 'lot' of afflictions
(Letters of John Newton)
My dear friend,
My wife has been very ill. But we are growing older, and may expect that as years increase — infirmities will increase also. Yet we are in His hands — and they are merciful hands.
His Word still gives us encouragement to trust in Him, and call upon Him as long as we live. May we cast all our cares upon Him — with a persuasion that He cares for us! May His grace be sufficient for us, and our strength be according to our day — and then all shall be well.
Time is short, and the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed. A happy end will make amends for all the difficulties we meet with along the way. Oh that we could learn to live with the Lord by the day, and leave the unknown tomorrow, and all its needs — with Him.
The trials of yesterday are gone — to return no more. Those of tomorrow — are not yet come. The Lord mercifully parcels out to us our 'lot' of afflictions by minutes and moments — that we might not be overburdened. But we, foolishly looking back to the past, and forward to the future — load ourselves with an unnecessary and unprofitable weight! It is no wonder, therefore, that we are often weary!
The heaviest part of our trials is owing, not so much to the painful dispensations which cause them — as the self-will and unbelief of our hearts. And our relief depends more upon the cure of our wrong inward dispositions — than upon any change of our outward circumstances.
I have indeed had my trials, and some of them have been sharp; but their sharpness, as I have hinted, has been chiefly owing to my lack of faith and submission. I have reason to praise Him for my trials, for, most probably, I would have been ruined without them!
Your affectionate friend,