I Will Trust!
James Smith, 1858
"I will trust — and not be afraid!" Isaiah 12:2
We are too prone to give way to fear; and fear indulged — straitens the spirit, disturbs the conscience, and agitates the whole soul. "Fear has torment." It was wise therefore of the prophet, to say, "I will not be afraid;" but it is much easier said, than done. We are naturally prone to fear, and darkness in the understanding, guilt on the conscience, or unbelief in God's Word — always generates or increases it. Fear — weakens faith, gives Satan power over us, and leads us to dishonor our Lord; no wonder therefore that we are so often tempted to fear.
Faith in God is the great antidote to fear, let us therefore encourage faith, and often cry out with the disciples to our beloved Master, "Lord increase our faith!" Then we may expect to receive grace, which will enable us to say, "I will trust and not be afraid," Trust! Why would the prophet trust? Because he saw that God was his salvation. That all the perfections of his nature were engaged in covenant, and pledged by promise to save him. Having God for his Savior — he felt safe; and feeling safe — he was happy God engages to save all who apply to him, confide in him, and expect deliverance from him.
O what a privilege to be saved by the Lord. Saved from sin and all its consequences, from Satan and all his snares, from men and all their wrath; in a word, from every evil. Saved! Happy, thrice happy is the saved soul — and this happiness belongs to all who believe in Jesus. He was persuaded that there was no wrath in God against him. "You were angry with me," but you are angry no more. No, the moment we flee to Jesus, and plead his precious blood — all divine anger ceases. There is then nothing in God's heart towards us but love. There is nothing in God's book against us. Jesus has borne all the wrath. Jesus has endured all the suffering.
Jesus has magnified the law and made it honorable. Jesus has harmonized all the divine perfections in our salvation, so that "mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have embraced each other." God speaks loving words to comfort him. "You comfort me." Yes, as one whom his mother comforts, so does the Lord comfort the poor sinner, who reposes all his hopes on Jesus. He gives loving invitations, he makes loving promises, he uses loving entreaties, and speaks in the most loving terms. He would have his child happy. He would have his little one feel safe. He would have us believe the love that he has to us, and rejoice in it.
"Wells of salvation are opened to supply him." He is not dependent on the limited cistern, or even on the uncertain clouds, for the Lord has opened fountains. Not one well, one fountain — but many. He displays the greatness of his love, the vastness of his resources, the plenitude of his mercy. "Eat," he says, "O friends, drink, yes, drink abundantly, O my beloved."
Sometimes our supplies are represented not merely by wells — but rivers. "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys." Beloved, if God is our salvation — if his anger is turned away from us — if he comforts us with loving words — and if he has opened wells of salvation for our supply, ought we not to banish fear, and lovingly trust in him? But, this is the privilege of every one that believes in Jesus.
Let, O let us then imitate the prophet, who said, "I will," What? "I will trust — and not be afraid!" His confidence centered in God, not in his frames or feelings, not in his duties or endeavors — but in the Lord alone. I will trust that the Lord will be with me. And with God for our companion, guide and friend, we may venture anywhere. We may be comfortable anywhere. In the roughest road, in the dirtiest path, in the most dreary desert, in the most dangerous way — if God is with us, we are safe, and may rejoice. But if God is our Savior, he will be ever with us, he will never leave us, nothing shall induce him to forsake us. Then we should trust and not be afraid.
I will trust that God will supply me. And he will, however numerous our needs, whatever claims may be made upon us — he can supply us with ease, he will supply us with pleasure. He can — for all things are his; he will — for he has given us his word, and constituted us his dependent children. He has anticipated all the needs of time, and provided in Jesus for them; he has foreseen all that will be necessary in eternity, and has laid up in store for that. With God — the God of the universe with me, loving me, leading me — ought I not to feel confident that all my needs will be supplied? Can doubting be justified? Can fearing be excused? Let us not attempt either the one or the other — but rather say, "I will trust and not be afraid."
I will trust that God will bring me safely and honorably through all. Right, and he will, for he will not fail you nor forsake you, until he has done that which he has spoken to you of. He never violates his word. He never breaks an engagement. If we forsake him, he will chastise us, and bring us back with weeping and with supplication. If we break his commandments, and neglect to keep his statutes — he will visit our transgressions with a rod, and our iniquities with stripes. Nevertheless his loving-kindness will he not utterly take from us, nor allow his faithfulness to fail. He has infinite patience to bear with us, and having, with a perfect knowledge of all that we should be, or do, beforehand — undertaken our cause, and promised to save us with an everlasting salvation, he will do so.
Yes, blessed Lord, you will guide us with your counsel, and afterward receive us to glory! O how will his glory be advanced by bringing such a number of fearful, fickle, feeble creatures, through so many snares, so many dangers, and so many trials — not losing one of them — though earth and Hell have done their worst to secure their destruction! Through much tribulation we shall all enter the kingdom, therefore let us trust and not be afraid.
I will trust that God will benefit me, and do me good, by all that he causes me to pass through. So we should, for all things work together for our good. Every loss will prove our gain, every trial will purge and purify us, every conflict will terminate in our honor, for we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. That which has most alarmed me, that which I have most dreaded, that which I feared would crush me — will be seen by and bye, to have done me the most good. As the dark clouds bring the showers, as the frosts of winter prepare the earth for a fruitful spring — so will all the toils, troubles, and trials of the Lord's people, end in their advantage. "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Well then, may we trust and not be afraid. I will trust that God will land me safely in Immanuel's land. So he will, if you commit the keeping of your soul to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. He is always faithful to the trust reposed in him, and takes the greatest care of whatever is committed to him. Hence the Apostle was so full of courage and confidence, because he could say, "I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
The journey may be a long one, a rough one, a perilous one — but it will end well. He loves all his people, and all his people love him, and we are persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature — shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. As in Christ, there is no condemnation; so from Christ, there can be no separation. Once in Christ, in Christ forever, therefore I will trust and not be afraid.
I will not be afraid of man, for if God be for me, if God be with me, what can poor, puny, spiteful man do unto me. They may persecute — but if we suffer for the sake of Christ, happy are we. They may slander — but God will bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the noon-day. They may kill the body — but if they do, for us to die is gain.
I will not be afraid of events — but will cry unto God Most High, unto God that performs all things for me. Events, whether painful or pleasant, can only perform the thing that is appointed for me; only do my father's bidding; only conspire to deepen my sanctification, elevate my affections, and make me fit for glory.
I will not be afraid of devils, for they are all held in check by my wise and merciful Redeemer. Satan is a conquered foe. Satan is a chained foe. He can only act by permission of him who loves me best, and he will never get permission to do me any great or lasting injury. Our brethren before us overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the Word of their testimony; and we are assured that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Shall I fear Satan then? No — but rather rejoice, that the God of peace will bruise Satan under my feet shortly.
I will not b» afraid of death, for death, like Satan, is a conquered foe. Yes, its very nature is changed, it was a terrible thing once, a penal evil — but now it is a soft, sweet sleep — a sleep in Jesus. Every believer dies in the Lord, sleeps in Jesus; and lies down on his dying pillow with the assurance, that at the glorious advent of our immortal Lord, those also who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him.
Shall I be afraid, when wearied and exhausted with the toils and trials of the day, to lie down on my pillow at night to enjoy refreshing sleep, especially if I could do so, assured hy God himself that no evil should befall me — but that I should awake in the morning not only refreshed — but freed from all aches, pains, diseases, and liability to death? Surely not. And shall I be afraid to fall asleep in Jesus, when I have the assurance that God will watch over my sleeping dust, and raise my poor body powerful, spiritual, and immortal; and that my soul being absent from the body shall be present with the Lord! Shall I? Can it be? O unbelief, how powerful you are — but for you, without the least hesitation, I should rapturously exclaim, "I will trust, and not be afraid."
I will not fear man, however powerful; nor events, however trying; nor devils, however numerous; nor death, come when, where, or how it may!
O believer, beloved brother, happy are you! Who is like unto you, saved by the Lord, comforted by the Lord, loved of the Lord, and supplied by the Lord! Will you fear? Will you not rather trust in the Lord forever? Will you not joy in the Lord, and rejoice in the God of your salvation? Happy, happy are you! happy, though poor and despised by men! Happy, though tempted and tried by Satan! Happy, though providence seems to frown, and all things to go against you! Yes, you are happy — for the Lord is your portion, Heaven is your home, and all things are ordered for your good!
But, lost sinner, I cannot speak thus to you, you cannot trust in the Lord, for you, are set against him, and are waging a foolish and wicked war with him. He is obliged to be angry with you. He is bound to punish you, if you will persevere in your present course. But he does not wish to do so. It is no pleasure to him to punish you. He will find no delight in your death. Your groans will not be musical in his ear, nor will your torments gratify him. Therefore he warns you of your danger, offers to pardon your sins, exhorts you to flee from the wrath to come, and beseeches you to be reconciled to him. He stoops to the lowest, when he stoops to beseech you to be friends with him. His condescension is without a parallel when he calls to you, as Paul to the jailor, "Do yourself no harm," but, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved."
There is salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ — salvation for sinners — for just such sinners as you are — and for you, if you are willing to receive it. O that I could convince you of your danger! O that I could arouse you from your lethargy and indifference! O that I could persuade you to come to Jesus! O that I may be the instrument of leading you to taste and see that the Lord is good, and that in true religion there is pleasantness, joy, and peace! O that I might be used to prevent your falling into the yawning gulf, and sinking into that bottomless pit, from which there is no redemption! Lord, grant it, grant it, grant it, for Jesus' sake. Amen.