"Woman," Jesus said to her, "why are you crying? Who
is it you are looking for?" John 20:15
To Mrs. Turner, August 13, 1856.
My dear Mrs. Turner,
Once again I take up my pen to greet you in the dear name of Him who was
anointed to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
to set at liberty those who are bruised, and to comfort those who
mourn--that those who mourn may be exalted to safety. I understand that at
this time your harp is on the willows, that you are a woman of a sorrowful
spirit, and one of those who mourn. I know not what is the cause of your
being at present cast down—but your heavenly Father knows, and He has
promised that He will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able to
bear, and that, with every temptation, He will make a way to escape.
"Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it."
You know David said, "When my spirit was overwhelmed
within me, then You knew my path," implying that He did not know it Himself.
And Job said, "But He knows the way which I take: when He has tried me, I
shall come forth as gold." And when was this? Why, it was just when he went
forward and backward, to the right hand and to the left, in search of
Him—but he could not find Him; yet he believed that the Lord knew all, and
would bring him out of that hot furnace even as gold. Ah, say you, "but I am
not gold." Well, beloved, that may be so to your view, because the dross is
rising up, and you can see and feel nothing else. But the great Refiner sees
differently, and I quite believe that it will be proved that "better is the
end of a thing than the beginning thereof."
Many of the Lord's people have come into very dark and
intricate paths of experience—but never were they left or forsaken, although
many have often feared it, saying, as David, "I shall one day perish by the
hand of Saul." But did he perish? No! Neither shall you; the Lord would not
have showed you such things if He had meant to destroy you. It is to humble
you and prove you, that He may do you good in your latter end; and when
He has shown you a little of what is in your heart, He will show you
something of what is in His heart--even "thoughts of peace, and not of
evil, to give you an expected end." He will then reveal the everlasting love
which has been fixed upon you from all eternity, and is now drawing you to
Himself. Yes, you shall see such love flowing from your Father's heart in
the precious gift of His beloved Son, whom He delivered up to the sword of
justice and to the curse of the law for your sake--that though you find
nothing within but abomination, and nothing without but sin and shortcoming,
though you feel yourself full of wounds and bruises and putrefying
sores--yet shall you experience that with His stripes you are healed, in His
blood you are cleansed, and in His righteousness you are justified.
Hear what He says, "O Israel, you have destroyed
yourself; but in me is your help." You may be now learning something of
the depths of your malady—but it will only enhance the blessing of the cure.
"The deep of your misery calls unto the deep of His mercy," and it shall
not call in vain. Satan, the devouring lion, may be roaring against you, he
may open his mouth at you—but the Lord will not leave you in his power; the
good Shepherd will deliver you even though you feel broken and wounded.
(Amos 3:12) Whatever the enemy touches, he shall not touch your life, for
that is "hidden with Christ in God." O my dear friend, I know his fearful
power! there was a time when I felt as if I was in his mouth—but he was not
permitted to close it upon me; the Lord graciously delivered me, and I live
to encourage others to hope in His mercy.
I have also known what it is to travel through the
wretched wilderness of my own heart, and learn something of its
corruptions—feeling hard, cold, barren, prayerless--and everything else that
is hateful. It was like that dreary land mentioned in Jer. 2:6, and it
felt as solitary as if none else could be there—"they wandered in the
wilderness in a solitary way." But One eye was watching, though unseen; One
arm was supporting, though unfelt; and at length the Sun of righteousness
arose upon my sorrowful soul, and, "turned the shadow of death into the
morning." Then I wanted to fly away from these lowlands of sorrow, and be at
rest in His bosom forever—but He said, "Go back and tell your friends and
neighbors how great things the Lord has done for you, and has had compassion
upon you." Many years have passed since then—but I have not yet spoken half
enough of His wondrous love; and so I now say to you, He has delivered, He
does deliver, and in Him we trust that He will yet deliver.
You cannot be more gloomy, helpless, hopeless, and
unbelieving than I was, and "He who has delivered me from so great a death"
will deliver you also. "His hand is not shortened, that it cannot save;
neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear!" And if your iniquities have
separated between you and your God, the precious blood of Jesus cleanses
them all away, who Himself says, "Look unto me, and be saved." The bitten
Israelites were not healed by looking at their wounds—but at the brazen
serpent, which was a type of Christ; and so while you are poring over your
sins and yourself you will only sink lower. "Looking unto Jesus" is the way
of deliverance. "They looked unto Him, and were lightened; and their faces
were not ashamed." Perhaps you say, "But I cannot, He is hidden from my
view." Well, my beloved, if you cannot look at Jesus yet, seek to be looking
towards Him, as Jonah 2:4, and it shall not be in vain.
Whatever be your case, this is the way of relief, and
from this way Satan will mightily struggle to keep you, knowing that thereby
he will be overcome. The cross and blood of Jesus are more than a match for
him; and when the vilest or weakest sinner shelters there, his fiery darts
are quenched, and the prey is delivered. May the blessed Spirit enable
you to look forth with the eye of faith to the Lamb slain, and to come away
from self and all besides--to Jesus. "Unto whom coming as unto a living
stone." Oh, come away, come, come to Jesus! "He will never cast you out."
"The Spirit and the Bride say, Come," and by the Father's drawings you shall
have power so to do; for "He gives power to the faint, and to those who have
no might He increases strength."
Oh that I could so speak of the worthy Lamb as to set
your heart on fire with love to Him and longing after Him, that you might
keep following Him like those blind men, who, when told to be quiet, cried
out the more a great deal, "Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on us!" He
granted their request, and He will grant yours! His delays are not
denials. It has been well said, "If Christ seems to keep His door closed
against you, it is not to shut you out—but only to make you knock the
louder." Oh, we do our precious Jesus great wrong in our hard thoughts of
Him, because He does not answer immediately! "Lord, increase our faith."
Adieu, dear friend. The Lord bless you, and in His own time strengthen,
establish, and settle you.
With kind love in our adorable Emmanuel, I remain, though
most unworthy, yours affectionately,
"I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have
heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they
have longed for me to do." Psalm 12:5