Brought Low — but Helped
James Smith, 1861
"I was brought low — and He helped me!" Psalm 116:6
The circumstances of the Christian often vary — and it is no uncommon thing for his frames and feelings to vary with his circumstances. On this account, many of the Lord's people are either elevated — or depressed, but seldom enjoy a calm, peaceful, and settled state of mind. Their depression is great — or their joys are high. But even this is overruled for their good, and is sanctified to the humbling of the soul, and the preserving it from self-importance and pride. What a mercy it is to have a God to go to — let our frames and feelings be what they may. What a mercy to have one who will sympathize with us, and of whom it is said, "Like as a father pities his children — so the Lord pities those who fear him." This was David's encouragement, and lay at the root of much of his experience, and led him to say, "I was brought low — and He helped me."
His Painful Condition."I was brought low." O how low the believer is brought sometimes — into what straits and trials, into what troubles and distresses!
Sometimes in his outward circumstances, by the loss of property, or friends, or situation; all seems against him, everything seems to conspire together to bring him low.
Sometimes in body, by strong pain, extreme weakness, or nervous disorders; so that everything loses its relish, and he can enjoy nothing earthly.
At other times it is distress in the soul, by violent temptations, by distressing bereavements, by the hidings of the Lord's face, or his withholding divine communications. Now everything appears to be covered with a pall — and gloom and darkness spreads over the soul.
But at times the Lord so sanctifies the
circumstances, as painful as they are, that they become real blessings:
pride is humbled,
false confidence is destroyed, and
the man walks softly before the Lord.
Yet at other times — faith is shaken, the heart is straitened, doubts spring up, fears are strong, the evidences are beclouded, prayer becomes a task — and we think that God must be angry with us. This brings us low, lays us prostrate, and we cry plaintively unto God. Then in answer to the cry of faith, the Lord sends help, or appears for our relief, and soon we are able to say, "I was brought low — and he helped me!"
His Encouraging Testimony."He helped me." Blessed be his holy name, he never allows us to sink — but he comes to our help! He helps us in trouble:
Thus he draws out our souls in prayer, excites hope in his mercy, awakens confidence in his Word — and we sink in deep humility at his footstool.
Now we can bear trouble with patience, and look for
deliverance with courage. He helps us out of trouble, by turning our
captivity as he did Job's. Now . . .
promises are applied,
comfort is imparted,
the Spirit bears his inward witness,
the heart is enlarged,
confidence is produced, and
sweet communion with himself is granted.
This is sending and taking us out of the deep waters. This is bringing us up out of the horrible pit — and setting our feet upon a solid rock. This is like returning to the days of our youth. Now we can sing in the ways of the Lord, because great is the glory of the Lord. Now we can say with the prophet, "O Lord, I will praise you, though you were angry with me — your anger is turned away, and you comfort me."
We must sink — before we rise. This is always true in grace, for before honor — is humility. We must pace the valley of humiliation, before we ascend the mount of high and holy communion with God. And very frequently is it the case, that the lower we sink — the higher we rise. If the Lord is stripping us, emptying us, pruning us, and bringing us low; so that we feel weak, empty and void of good — it is in order that he may strengthen us with his might, bring us to rest on his Word, fill us with his own love, and lead us to look for everything in Jesus.
When brought low — hope should be encouraged. The Lord will help us. We ought not then to encourage fears, or yield to despondency — but should rather chide ourselves for yielding to such feelings, as David did, when he said, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." He who brings down — will raise up. If the Lord bring us down by his providence — he will support and raise us up by his grace. He may lay us so low — that no hand may be able to reach us but his own; or our affairs may become so perplexed — that no one can unravel them but himself. But as sure as this is the case, he will appear for us, and work our deliverance. He will never leave us prostrate, for it is his prerogative to raise up the poor out of the dust, and lift up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory!
None of God's people die in the pit. Joseph was cast into one — but the coming of the Midianite merchants, caused him to be taken out. Jeremiah was cast into a worse pit — but Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, was used to deliver him. Just so with us — whatever pit we may fall into, or be thrown into — so sure as Daniel was taken up unhurt out of the den of lions — so shall we be delivered.
The church of old testified, "We went through fire and through water — but You brought us out into a wealthy place." Just so shall we shortly be delivered, and when we stand on the borders of the promised land, when we are about to cross the river that separates time from eternity, when about to close the eyes on everything below, we shall then with our dying breath for the comfort of those we leave behind us say, "I was brought low — and He helped me!"
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine! When you go through deep waters — I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty — you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression — you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!" Isaiah 43:1-3