A Happy State to Be In
James Smith, 1860
"A few days ago," writes a godly man, "I said to a sick friend: 'It is likely that your affliction will terminate in death.' She replied, 'Well, it does not matter to me. If I die — then I shall dwell with my God; and if I live longer — then he will dwell with me.' "
What an enviable state of mind to be in. Yet, it is just that state of mind, in which every Christian should be. But am I in that state? Is it my habitual experience? It ought to be, and but for unbelief, or listening to Satan, or judging from appearances, it would be. Let me look at the sentence a little.
"If I die — then I shall dwell with my God." What a blessed assurance! This is Heaven, to dwell with God. To dwell with God in the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. A visit from God — how blessed! To have a glimpse of his glory, a taste of his love, and a sense of his favor — how sweet! But what will it be to be forever with the Lord? Forever with the Lord, where there are . . .
no clouds to veil his glory,
no thorns to wound our feet,
no sorrows to pierce our hearts,
no tempter to endeavor to lead us astray,
no sin to wound our consciences, or dishonor our God!
With God! What more can we want, or wish for?
With God! What can our God confer on us better than this?
Nothing would satisfy us without God; and with God, we could part with anything.
"My God," what does this not compass?
"My God," what does this not ensure?
If he is "my God," then he is . . .
my omnipotent friend,
my heavenly father,
and my portion forever.
"I shall dwell with my God." Yes, he has said the word, he has prepared the kingdom, and Jesus is gone to prepare the place. O believer, look not at death — but look beyond it, and anticipate with pleasure and delight the glorious prospect, the prospect of dwelling forever with your God!
"If I live longer — then he will dwell with me." Yes, God and his people cannot be parted. They are one in Christ. They love each other, and delight in each other's society. God will not be in Heaven without his people — and the people shall not be on earth without their God. "I will come unto you," are his own sweet word. "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," is the glorious promise he has given them. They call upon him — and he answers them. They invite him to their hearts and homes, and he comes and makes his abode with them. They live in his society, they enjoy his fellowship, and they are delighted with his love. They can say with John, "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
The Lord will be with me. Yes . . .
let me be where I may, in any part of the world;
let me be what I may — poor or rich;
let me be as I may — in prosperity or adversity
— the Lord will dwell with me. May this . . .
comfort me in sorrow,
cheer me in solitude,
strengthen me in weakness,
and nerve me for the constant fight!
Reader, do you know anything of the presence of God? Can you look at life and death, as the poor invalid did? Are you comparatively indifferent whether you live or die, knowing that if you die, you will go to dwell with God; and that while you live, he will dwell with you?
If you have not attained to this state, settle it in your mind, that it is attainable — and then set your heart on attaining it. Seek it by faith, seek it in fellowship with God, seek it in a deep and abiding sense of your union to Jesus — and you will find it. You must be . . .
be pardoned of God, and know it,
be accepted of God, and enjoy it,
walk in fellowship with God, and maintain it, or you cannot thus live.
Rest not then, without a sense of pardon, without a knowledge of your acceptance, without daily fellowship with God; if you do, you will not be very holy, very useful, or very happy.
Should an invalid read these lines, who is altogether a stranger to these things; to such an one, I would say: My dear fellow-sufferer, look to look to Jesus as the one great Savior; look to him for immediate salvation. He can save you, and if you look to him he will. Your salvation is in his power — not in your own. Entrust your soul to him, and you are safe. There is no . . .
pardon for sinners, but through his blood;
nor justification, but through his righteousness;
nor sanctification, but through his Spirit;
nor Heaven, but through his merits.
Your salvation is quite possible, if you look to Jesus. Possible, did I say, it is certain, absolutely certain; for no one ever did, no one ever could, and no one ever can, no one ever shall perish — looking unto Jesus.
Believer, get near to Jesus in health, and walk closely with him, that so when you come upon a sick bed you may sweetly enjoy your interest in him. Seek, to have your will swallowed up in the will of God, that so you may be willing to be sick or healthy, to live or die, just as the Lord pleases. This is the most holy state that you can be in, it being just the state, in which Jesus lived and died.