Safe and Happy!
George Everard, 1871
It has long been in my heart to write some words of help and counsel to my young sisters, near and far away, who may have to battle with many temptations, and may be exposed to many dangers. It is probable that these pages may be read by some whom I know, and by many more whom I have never seen — yet I would desire, if I could, to lend a helping hand to all. Do not think you are without sympathy. You have more who care for you than perhaps you have hitherto imagined. And I would send forth this little book with a mission to tell you this. I want to comfort you when you feel sorrowful and cast down. I want to stretch out my hand to prevent your sinking in despondency and fear. I want to assist you in standing firm when temptation is near. What is my desire for you? It is this — that you may evermore be Safe and Happy. How blessed would you then be! Fight onward through your course, whether that course is short or long, rough or smooth, among friends or strangers — may you still be safe and happy!
Such is my prayer for each reader as I write these lines. O Lord Jesus, who came to guide our wandering footsteps into the way of peace, pour into each young heart the gift of Your Spirit, that she may know and love You. Give to each reader the true joy of Your presence. Keep her from every perilous snare. May she be safe and happy in Your love now! May she be safe and happy in Your heavenly kingdom hereafter!
Safe and Happy! It is possible in a measure to be one and not the other — as far as concerns this present life. A man may for the present be apparently safe — and yet not happy! He may be in perfect health, he may be guarded on all sides by the good providence of God — and yet within the heart there may be the canker-worm of some hidden grief.
On the other hand he maybe happy — and yet not safe. He may be surrounded by every blessing; he may be happy in his home, or with friends, or in the prospect of anticipated pleasure — and yet unknown danger may be close at hand, and before another hour has passed he may be numbered with the dead.
But if, my young sister, you have peace with God, if your sins are forgiven, if your name is enrolled in the Lamb's book of life — in the very highest and truest sense you are both safe and happy.
You are SAFE — for as the mountains surround about Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people. Like those mountains, His power, His love, His truth, His faithfulness are around you on every side. You are safe, because your fortress and castle can never be captured by an enemy. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runs into it and is safe. You are safe because the angel of the Lord compasses those who fear Him and delivers them. You are safe especially, because Jesus, the angel's Lord Himself is near, and He has pledged His word that none of his sheep shall be lost by the way.
And you are as HAPPY as you are safe. I do not mean that Christians always feel alike. They have cloudy days — as well as days of sunshine. They have dark hours — as well as bright ones. Not many can say, as a Christian once said to me, "Happy! I am always happy. I can always go to God, and He is ever the same."
But if the Christian cannot always feel this — yet he has always a right to be happy. God bids us be happy. He bids us to rejoice always. He calls on His people to shout for joy, because He compasses them with favor and loving-kindness.
And they have joy in the midst of sorrow. A Christian in the greatest affliction, is really happier than a child of the world in the greatest prosperity. Paul and Silas could burst forth in songs of praise even in the gloomy prison cell, their feet fast in the stocks, and their bodies bruised with the cruel stripes.
The truth is, that a Christian has a little spring of living water in his heart, and all the power of the world and of Satan can never hinder it from flowing forth! It is true, a little pebble in the way may stay its course for a moment. Some anxiety or sorrow may come in and fill the heart, and then the joy is not felt, but by and by it will revive. A promise will lift up the fainting spirit. A whisper of the Comforting Spirit will remind the soul of Christ as the Good Shepherd, or as the mighty, living Friend — and then the stream will burst forth again, and cheerfulness and peace will be restored.
Safe and happy! Yes! You shall be thus even in the valley which to the unforgiven sinner, is so gloomy and cheerless.
A Christian African was accustomed, when his day's work was over, to go around among those who lived near and to read to them the words of eternal life. One night he came home with his clothes wet through from rain — yet hearing that a neighbor was dying, he went out to see him without changing. This brought on a fatal illness. He lost his life through his eagerness to save another's soul. But it was well with him, and he feared not death's approach. He bade his beloved wife to refuse admittance to any who would come and trouble him with worldly matters. "Tell them," said he, "all is peace within."
It was a blessed testimony to the truth that Christ can give peace even in a dying hour.
Not long ago a Christian lady whom I knew bore the same testimony. She had an illness which brought much suffering, and which lasted many weeks, but she was ever full of gratitude for the mercies granted to her, and full of confidence and hope in Christ. She could tell of Him whom she believed, and knew that He was able to keep that which she had committed unto Him. One remark she often made: "It is a happy time for me!"
Yes, safe and happy, sister, were you in all your sufferings. Still more safe and happy are you now, sleeping in Jesus — your spirit at rest in His loving guardianship, your sorrows past, your fullest joy awaiting you at the coming of the Lord.
Yes, safe and happy too are you, my sister in Christ, who yet sojourn in this valley of tears. Your toil is not yet over, your crown is not yet won — but your name is in the Lamb's book, and He himself will always be your refuge, your portion, and your exceeding great reward.
Safe and happy! Let me be
Freely justified in Thee:
Cleansed in Your atoning blood,
Nourished by Your faithful word.
Safe and happy! For I know
All the life I live below
Shall be guided by Your love,
Until I reach my home above.
Safe and Happy, for I read
You will grant me all I need:
Nothing of my own have I —
Grace and strength will You supply.
Safe and happy, Angel bands
Shall uphold me in their hands;
Death itself shall lose its sting
As I rest beneath Your wing.
Safe and happy! Yes I praise,
Heaven and earth shall pass away:
Yet in Your eternal rest
Shall I be forever blessed!