Where is Sarah?
James Smith, 1861
A young Christian has been lately removed by death. She was very active for the Lord, endeavoring by all means to bring souls to the Savior. The Lord honored her in this work, and many were benefitted by her. She was taken sick, the disease seized the brain, reason was dethroned for a time, and at length she was called hence by her Lord. The manner of her death startled some, though there was no need to be startled by it, for diseases come alike to all, and act upon all alike; but some who knew her and loved her, were ready to ask respecting her, as the three celestial visitants did about the Patriarch's wife, "Where is Sarah?" Genesis 18:9. The more important question is,
WHAT was Sarah?She was a sinner — but a sinner convinced of sin, and aware of her true state as a transgressor in the sight of God. She was a sinner converted unto God, for being convinced of sin she fled to the Lord Jesus for pardon and everlasting life. She obtained mercy, and in her appeared repentance unto life, and faith in God's mercy through Christ. She was sorry for her sins, she grieved over them before God, and departed from the practice of them in her life. She saw clearly that Jesus was the only Savior, that his blood alone could cleanse her from all sin, she renounced all dependence on her own works, trusted in the finished work of Jesus alone, and found peace with God.
She was a sinner consecrated to God, for no sooner did she find peace with God, and taste the comforts of real religion, than she consecrated herself to God. She professed her faith in Christ, she united herself to the people of God, and endeavored to walk in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord blameless. She looked upon herself as the Lords, and to his service she consecrated herself, and all that she had.
She was a believer, and as a believer in Christ, she was justified before God. All her sins were forgiven her for his name's sake. She was invested with his righteousness. She was united to his person. She rested for her acceptance with God now, and for everlasting life at last — upon Christ, and upon Christ alone.
As a believer, she was joyful. She knew the gospel as the joyful sound, and it made her heart glad. She felt the love of God in her soul, and it filled her with joy and pleasure. She was enabled to rejoice in the Lord, and to sing in the ways of the Lord. Hers was not a gloomy forbidding religion, for it brought a degree of Heaven into her soul, before she was called hence to be no more seen. As a believer, she was joined to the Lord, and could rejoice that she was one with Christ. She realized that it was her privilege to share in all the blessings of the gospel, and could rejoice that as one with Christ — his blood was an atonement for all her sins; his righteousness was the ground of her justification before God; and his intercession, would not only serve for all she needed — but be an effectual reply to all the accusations of her enemies.
She was a Christian, and as a Christian she worked for God. To spread his truth, to bring sinners under the sound of his gospel, and to speak well of his name, was her delight. Her influence, her property, and every talent that she had was set apart for Jesus, and employed in his service.
As a Christian she walked with God. To commune with God, to communicate all her joys and sorrows to God, and to imitate the character of God, was her object and aim. For, though as most Christians do, she passed through many changes, and at times experienced deadness, darkness, and deep soul conflict; yet with her, prayer was not a mere duty, or praise an empty form. She had fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
As a Christian she waited upon God. In the means of grace, in the dispensations of divine providence, and at the Lord's footstool; in the duties of devotion, in simple confidence in God, and in the exercise of patience — she waited upon God. To hear the whispers of his Spirit, to feel the efficacy of the blood of Jesus in the conscience, to rest on the promises of God, to ascertain and to do the will of God from the heart — were the great outlines of her religion.
Such was Sarah. A poor sinner, lost and ruined by the fall — but saved by grace through faith, made an heir of God, and a joint heir with the Lord Jesus Christ! By faith in the Son of God she lived; by the providence of God she was arrested in her career of usefulness, and as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ she died.
Where is Sarah? Absent from the body, she is now present with the Lord. She was smitten with disease, she suffered for a short time, and then she sunk to her eternal rest. Her body now rests in the grave-yard, free from all pain, and weariness, and want. Her spirit is with Christ, in the enjoyment of holy freedom. She is free from sin — which often caused her sorrow, while here. She is free from doubts and fears — which sometimes distressed and troubled her soul. She is free from foes — who often opposed her progress, and hindered her in her course. She is free from all the dangers — which at times alarmed her, and made her cry vehemently unto God. She is full of joy — for she is holy, and stands before the throne of God, and of the Lamb. Her peace is perfect, uninterrupted, and passes comprehension. She is in Heaven, where she sees God in his glory; worships with the angels in the beauty of holiness; and enjoys the society of the spirits of the just men made perfect.
All the desires of her heart are granted. All her prayers for holiness and happiness are answered. All that annoyed or troubled her, is far distanced from her — and the objects of her highest spiritual love, are present with her.
Happy Sarah, she now sees Jesus as he is — she now enjoys the presence of Jesus without interruption — her soul is just like the soul of Jesus — and she now understands the language of Paul, as she never could do on earth, "to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." O how much better to be with Jesus in perfect holiness and perfect happiness, to be with him in his Father's house — than to be here in this poor world!
Servants, seek the Lord. Sarah was a servant, and while in her situation she sought and found the Savior, and having found Jesus, she enjoyed his presence in her kitchen, and held fellowship with him, in her every-day duties. With Christ in the heart, with Heaven in the eye, and with God's word of promise cheering the soul — how happy may our servants be! With few cares, and many comforts; with a fine opportunity for honoring God in their situations, and with the prospect of reigning with Christ in glory soon — how much have our godly servants to be grateful for.
Seekers, decide for God. Sarah did, and she was happy. If you seek the Lord by prayer, and faith in Jesus, you cannot seek in vain; but do not rest satisfied with any desires you feel, or any efforts you make. Be satisfied with nothing — but a saving interest in Christ — with Christ in your heart the hope of glory. Some of old could say, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets wrote." Let nothing less than this satisfy you.
Saints, copy her example. Though but a servant, she was zealous for her God, she was active for Christ, she sought to save souls from eternal death. She sought out the young, and spoke to them of Jesus. Kindly and lovingly would she point out their danger as lost sinners, induce them to come and hear the gospel, and endeavor by all means in her power to bring them to Jesus. She would look out for enquirers, endeavor to remove their doubts and fears, pray with them and for them, and guide them into the way of peace. With what pleasure would she introduce seekers and young disciples to her pastor, that he may set before them the way of God more perfectly, and remove stumbling blocks out of their path.
Reader, are you at all like Sarah? Is her Savior yours? Have you felt yourself to be a poor lost sinner, and as such, have you fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before you in the gospel? Have you faith in Christ, and do you realize your union with Christ?
Are you a happy Christian, producing a good impression in favor of religion on all around you? Are you endeavoring to save souls from death? If you were to be stricken with disease, and rendered unable to leave any dying testimony behind you — would those who knew you best and love you most, feel sure that you were gone to be with Christ? Or, if the question was to be asked, "Where is he?" Could those best acquainted with you say, "Unquestionably in Heaven! Undoubtedly with Christ!" Make sure work of it, my friend, while you have time and opportunity. Strive to enter in at the strait gate, and be sure that you do enter, for there is not, there cannot be, any safety outside of it.