"Only believe."--Mark 5:36
Precious and significant are the words of Jesus, the very
same words that He spoke when on earth. Did those lips--glowing with more
than a seraph's hallowed touch, lips into which grace without measure was
poured--ever breathe a sentence more touching, more simple, or more
significant than this, "Only believe"? Originally addressed to an afflicted
parent, who sought His compassion and His help in behalf of a little
daughter lying at the point of death, they seem to be especially appropriate
to every case of anxiety, of trial, and of need. Alas! how many such will
scan this page--how many a sigh will breathe over it, how many a tear will
moisten it, how many a mournful glance will light upon it. Be it so--there
comes back a voice of sympathy responsive to each sad heart--not man, but
Jesus speaks--"Only believe"--in other words--"only trust."
What is faith, but trust? what is believing
in Jesus, but trusting in Jesus? When Jesus says, "Only believe Me,"
He literally says, "Only trust Me." And what a natural, beautiful,
soothing definition of the word faith is this! Many a volume has been
written to explain the nature and illustrate the operation of faith--the
subject and the reader remaining as much mystified and perplexed as ever.
But who can fail to comprehend the meaning of the good old Saxon word,
trust? All can understand what this means. When, therefore, Jesus
says--as He does to every individual who reads these words--"Only believe
Me," He literally says, "Only trust Me." Thus He spoke to the anxious
father who besought Him to come and heal his child; "Only believe--only
trust my power, only trust my compassion, only trust my word, be not afraid,
only trust Me." And thus He speaks to you, believer. Oh, for a heart to
respond, "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears!"
With this posture of soul Christ invites us to commence
the year. Could there be one more appropriate? Trust implies, on our part,
mystery and ignorance, danger and helplessness. Such is the condition and
prospect, and such are the feelings with which we greet the return of a new
period of time. How wrapped in inscrutability, how shadowy and unreal is all
the future! As we attempt to penetrate the dark clouds, what strange
forebodings steal over our spirits. With a feeling of uncertainty connected
with all before us, we seem to clutch our blessings with a more nervous
grasp, to enfold our treasures within a closer embrace, and to shrink back
ourselves from the mystic symbols of the strange unknown. Just at this
juncture Jesus approaches, and with address most winning, and in accents
most gentle, speaks these words, "Only believe--only trust Me! Trust
Me, who knows the end from the beginning--trust Me, who has all resources at
my command--trust Me, whose love never changes, whose wisdom never misleads,
whose word never fails, whose eye never slumbers nor sleeps--only
TRUST Me!" Enough, my blessed Lord, my soul replies. I will sit myself down
as a loving child, a lowly disciple at your feet, and, indistinct and dreary
as my future path may be, will learn from You how and where I may trust
You all my journey through.
The necessity that exists for faith, or
trust in Jesus, seems almost too obvious to require extended remark. We find
an illustration in the construction of human society. This beautiful
fabric is held together, and sustained in its multiform operations, simply
upon a principle of faith. Every pin that binds it would be loosed,
and every spring that moves it would be relaxed, were this principle of
trust withdrawn or impaired. The commercial world, also, is
carried on in its vast and complicated enterprises upon this same principle
of faith, or trust. Eager to dispute, and affecting to despise it when
brought to bear upon the claims and the realities of a world hidden and
invisible, man yet pleads for, and adopts it, in matters that concerns a
life that is seen and that is passing away. He will credit the
announcement of a discovery in science, believe a fact in history, and
embark his entire savings in a commercial enterprise in the exercise of a
simple, naked faith in the word, the integrity, or the skill of another; but
on the testimony of God's Word he will not believe anything that it reveals.
Revelation, traveling from a distant and unseen world
with announcements infinitely great, revealing facts transcendently
momentous, and based upon grounds which reason cannot dispute nor skepticism
gainsay, asks the simple and unquestioning faith of man. Does he believe?
Does he fully admit the Bible to be the Word of God? Does he believe in its
dreadful declaration that there is a hell, and in its glorious delineation
of a heaven? Does he receive the salvation it announces, believe in the
Savior it reveals, and adopt the character it enjoins? Alas! he will credit
the veriest fictions, will surrender his credulity to the wildest
conjectures, will receive unquestioningly fables as facts, falsehoods as
verities, announcements as true, based on evidence the most slender and
dubious; and yet, from the depth of his unbelieving heart, scorn as a
forgery and reject as a lie the eternal, divinely-authenticated and
unchangeable truth of God--revealing a world so solemn, truths so
momentous--a heaven--a hell--a Savior in which are bound up individual
interests inconceivably precious and undying. Such is the moral insanity of
the carnal mind. "Madness is in their heart while they live." But we
suppress this train of thought, and proceed to illustrate the necessity
of the believer's trust in God in view of the yet undeveloped, unshaped
circumstances and events of the future.
When we consider the convulsions of life's
future--limited it shall be within the brief space of twelve months--how
varied and undulating the path! It resembles, in its windings and its
changes, the serpentine course of a river, as it pursues its way--now
suddenly disappearing behind jutting rocks or towering headlands, now
bursting into view again and rushing on, foaming and sparkling, through
smiling meadows and sunny slopes--then, by some sudden course, lost again to
view--surely the believer will feel the need of confidence in an invisible
hand to guide him through the labyrinth of his intricately tortuous way.
This cloud of mystery, enshrouding all the future from our view, bids us
trust. Not a step can we take by sight. We cannot even conjecture, much
less decide, what the morrow will unfold in our history--what sweet sunbeam
shall illumine, or what somber cloud shall shade our path. How little can we
predict what loved ones, now clustering around our fireside, will, before
this year closes, have left us for the spirit land--what storm shall wreck
our fortunes or our fame--at what distant part of the globe, and in what
sanctuary, the last Sabbath in the year shall find us worshiping--or how
soon we ourselves shall depart from our princely halls and broad acres, or
our lowly homes and limited possessions, and join the long, gloomy
procession that has just preceded us to eternity. How veiled from sight
the next bend of our path! But Jesus says, "Only trust Me!"
The number, invisibility, and insidiousness of our
spiritual foes--their combined power, and the surprisal of their incessant
assaults--demands our trust in Jesus. Nothing is more unseen than the
principalities and powers through which we have to force our way to heaven.
Satan is invisible--his agents are unseen--moral evil veiled--our hearts a
great deep--the world masked--truly we have need to cling to, and confide
in, Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, seeing that "we wrestle not against
flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the
rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high
places," and that therefore we are to take to ourselves the whole armor of
God, remembering that this is the victory that overcomes the world, and with
it the god of this world, even our faith or trust in Jesus.
The heavenly source of all our supplies for the battle
and the journey of life pleads for our trust in Jesus. In ourselves we have
no resources. Grace is not natural to us, holiness is not innate, and our
native strength is but another term for utter impotence. Bankrupt of
everything that is morally strong, righteous, and lovely, we are "wretched,
and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Where, then, are our
supplies to come from? All in Jesus. "It has pleased the Father that in Him
all fullness should dwell." "Who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings
in heavenly places (things) in Christ." Christ is both the believer's armory
and his granary. The weapons of our warfare and the supplies of our
necessities--our ammunition and our nourishment--all are in Christ. And the
life we live as warriors and as pilgrims must be a life of continuous coming
to, and trusting in, a full Christ, an all-sufficient Savior. If, as each
morning dawns, and before we gird ourselves for the conflict, the duties and
the trials of the day, we breathe from our hearts to our Heavenly Father,
who knows our need and is pledged to its supply, the prayer--"Give me, my
Father, this day, my daily bread; I look to You for the wisdom
that counsels me, for the power that keeps me, for the love that soothes me,
for the grace that sanctifies me, and for the presence that cheers me; now
supply my need, and do unto me as seems good to You"--each day's provision
would be meted out, and we should experience the blessedness of living upon
a Father's bounty, upon the Savior's grace, and upon the Spirit's love.
We now come to consider the principle of faith, or
trust. It is altogether divine--created by no human power, commanded by no
human authority; and sustained by no human resources. "Faith is the gift of
God." Jesus is its Author and its Finisher. It is a free, unmerited,
unpurchased bestowment. It is given to the poor because of their poverty, to
the vile because they are unworthy, to the bankrupt because they have
"nothing to pay." All human boasting and vain excuses are thus swept away,
and the truth stands out radiant with its own divine luster--"By grace are
you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of
God." Such, then, is the faith, or trust, which the Bible enforces, and
which these pages are designed to illustrate.
There is, first, what an old divine would term a "bronze
serpent faith." That is, a faith that looks alone to Jesus for salvation.
It brings the penitent soul to His feet, it leads it to His blood for
cleansing, and to His righteousness for acceptance. It looks to Jesus as the
wounded Israelite did to the bronze serpent which Moses up lifted upon the
pole. Reader, have you this bronze serpent faith? As this year
unfolds the first page of your hidden history, can you humbly say, "Let what
will betide, I am saved; I am converted! I am in the ark, and have a
hope laid up in heaven?" Oh, wondrous words are these, "As Moses lifted up
the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up;
that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
Then, there is what the same divine would term a "golden
scepter faith"--a faith that enables the soul to draw near to God.
When Ahasuerus extended the golden scepter to queen Esther, it was the
symbol of her approach, the token of her welcome. She drew near, touched it,
and held audience with the king, and he granted her all that she desired.
Thus the soul draws near to God the Father through Christ. Christ is to the
sinner what the golden scepter was to the queen--the appointed medium of
access, "For through Him we both have access, by one Spirit, unto the
Father." Oh, with such a medium of approach to God--so near, so
suited, so precious--why should we stand afar off? why doubt, and linger,
and hesitate? "Having therefore, brethren, boldness (or liberty) to enter
into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw NEAR."
And now, for WHAT would Christ have us trust Him? "Only
believe--only trust Me."
Only trust the Salvation of Christ.--He would
have us commence with what He has constituted the central truth of the
gospel--the Cross. God has made it the focus of His glory--for around no
object do such wonders and glories gather as at the cross of Christ--and He
would have us make it the central fact of our faith. What a sure ground of
trust for a poor sinner is here--the great and complete salvation of the
Lord Jesus. Here God Himself rests--for He has confided all His glory to
Christ, whom "He has made strong for Himself." And surely if the work of
Jesus were sufficient to uphold the moral government and secure the eternal
honor of God, there need be no demur, no hesitation on the part of the
sinner, there to place his entire trust for forgiveness and acceptance.
Sinner as you are, here is a salvation worthy of your confidence. "Christ
died for the ungodly." "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was
bruised for our iniquities." "Through His blood we have redemption, even the
forgiveness of our sins." "By Him all who believe are justified."
Christ has paid the great debt to divine justice. His
resurrection from the dead by the glory of the Father is His complete
discharge, and now, "whoever will, may come and drink of the water of life
freely." To each guilt-stricken, heart-broken, sorrow-burdened, weary sinner
Jesus says, "Only TRUST Me." Beloved reader, no partial trust must
this be. Your foothold on every other foundation must give way--your grasp
upon every other support must loosen, your clinging to duties, to works, to
self, in every form, must yield--and your whole, implicit, sole trust for
salvation must be in the one Atonement which God has provided, in the one
salvation which Christ has finished, in the only name given under heaven
whereby we must be saved. Pointing to Himself as the only door by
which you can come to God, the only way by which you can be justified, the
only life by which you can live, Jesus says to you, "Only trust Me."
Only trust in the love of Christ.--Never was
there before--nor has there been since--nor ever will be again--such
ancient, marvelous, stupendous love as the love of Jesus! It is the
astonishment of heaven, it is the wonder of angels, and in their best,
holiest, and most self-abased moments, it is the marvel of saints on earth,
and will be, through eternity, their study and their praise. His
condescending stoop to our nature--His descent from heaven's glory to
earth's lowliness--His bearing our sins--his endurance of our curse--His
suffering our penalty--His exhaustion of our bitter cup--His resurrection
from the grave, and His ascent into heaven, are facts which speak, louder
and sweeter than an angel's trumpet, the love of Christ to His Church.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave
Himself for it."
But not only was Jesus the unveiler of His own heart, but
He came to unveil the heart of God. He came, not to inspire the heart of God
with an affection for man--but to make known a love already existing from
eternity. He who only knew the secret love of God's heart, came to reveal
that secret. So that Jesus was the exponent of God's love, its only
revealer, and its most precious gift. Christ is God's love embodied--God's
love speaking, God's love acting, God's love weeping, God's love dying,
God's love inviting. Blessed truth, that he whose arms of faith embrace
Christ, and through Christ also embrace the Triune Jehovah.
Now the Lord Jesus would have us commence the year with
fresh confidence in His love to us--that confidence, or trust,
accompanying us through its entire course. He invites us to trust His
love when it wears the disguise of displeasure; when, changing its
appearance and its tones, it looks and speaks threatening and unkind. What a
harsh disguise did Joseph wear to his brethren--and yet beneath it there
never beat a more loving, tender, or kinder heart than his. Such is our
Jesus--the Brother who has saved us from famine and from death--and has done
for us more than Joseph did for his brethren--has died for us.
Let us trust this love. Trust it when veiled--trust it when it threatens to
slay--trust it when it appears to frown--trust it when even we cannot trace
it; still, oh, still let us trust in Jesus' love, when, to our dim sight, it
would seem never to smile, or speak to us again. The time may come, and the
circumstances may arise, that shall put to the utmost test our confidence in
the Savior's love. When it shall say to us, "Can you surrender this
idol--can you make this sacrifice--can you bear this cross--can you
undertake this service--for Me?" Oh, blessed, if your heart can reply,
"Lord! relying upon your grace, trusting in your love, I can--I will--I
DO!" Oh, touching attitude of Jesus, who, just as the dark, uncertain vista
stands open to our view, our hearts all quaking for fear of what may
transpire, meets us at the threshold, and says, "Only believe--only trust
my love, wisely, gently, safely to guide you through the wilderness into the
good land that lies beyond."
Only trust in the Power of Christ.--Divine
Power, not less than love, is a perfection we shall require at every step of
our yet untried and unknown path. We shall have needs which none but
the power that multiplied the five loaves to supply the hunger of the five
thousand can meet. We shall have difficulties, which none but the
power that asks, "Is anything too hard for me, says the Lord?" can overcome.
We shall have enemies, with whom none but the power that resisted
Satan, vanquished death, and broke from the grave--can cope. All this power
is on our side if our trust is in the Lord. "All power is mine in heaven and
in earth," exclaims Jesus. This power which the Lord exerts on our behalf,
and in which He invites us to trust, is made perfect in weakness.
Hence, we learn it in the same lesson that teaches us the
utter lack of strength in ourselves. And when the Lord has reduced our
confidence, and weakened our strength, as in the case of Gideon, whose army
He reduced from thirty-two thousand men to three hundred, He then puts forth
His power, perfects it in our weakness, gives us the victory, and secures to
Himself all the praise. What a year of blessing, then, will this be, if we
go forward relying upon the power of Jesus to do all in us, and accomplish
all for us. Power to subdue our sins--power to keep our hearts--power to
uphold our steps--power gently to lead us over rough places, firmly to keep
us in smooth places, skillfully to guide us through crooked paths and safely
to conduct us through all perils, fully to vindicate us from all assaults,
and completely to cover our head in the day of battle. Invincible is that
soul thus clad in the panoply of Christ's power. The power which belongs to
Him as God, and the power which He possesses as Mediator, is all exerted in
the behalf of those who put their trust in Him. "You have given Him power
(are His own words) over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as
many as You have given Him."
Child of God! gird yourself for the duties, the toils and
trials of another year, "strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Hear
Him say to you, before you do take one step in the bending path opening to
your view, "Only believe--only trust Me." And when the stone of
difficulty confronts you--lying, perhaps, heavily upon some buried
mercy--hear Him ask you, before He rolls it quite away--"do you believe
that I am able to do this?" Oh, that your trusting heart may instantly
respond, "Yes, Lord, I believe, I trust; for with You all things are
Only trust the faithfulness of Christ.--There
can be no perfection of the Lord Jesus of more exalted glory in his eye than
His veracity. If the truthfulness of Christ can be impeached, then no
reliable confidence can be placed in anything that He is, that He does, or
that He says. But because He is not only truthful, but truth, His
word eternally fixed and unalterable--"Righteousness will be his belt and
faithfulness the sash around his waist," veracity an essential perfection of
His nature--He condescendingly appeals to our confidence, and says, "Only
trust Me." And have we, in any single instance, ever had reason to doubt
His word? Has He ever given us cause to distrust Him? Has the Lord ever been
to us a wilderness, a land of darkness, an exhausted fountain, a dried
spring? No, never! He has often done more than He promised--never
less. It is impossible for Him to lie. His word is truth. All the
promises of God are yes and amen in Him. Has He promised to be a Father, a
Husband, a Brother, and a Friend to those who put their trust in Him? Has He
pledged to guide their steps, to supply their needs, to shield their souls,
to do them good and not evil, to be with them down to old age, and even unto
death? Then hear Him say, "Only believe--only trust Me. Trust my
word--for it is truth; trust my promises--for they are yes and amen; trust
me--for I am God." Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one jot or
tittle of His word shall fail. "Only believe--only trust."
Only trust Christ as the Answerer of Prayer.--As
the Mediator and High Priest of His Church it is one of Christ's especial
prerogatives that He has to do with the prayers of His saints. Standing
midway between God and the suppliant, He intercepts the petition, purifies
it from all taint, divests it of all imperfections, supplies its
deficiencies, and then blending it with His own merits, perfuming it with
the much incense of His atoning sacrifice, He presents it to the Father
endorsed with His name, and urged by His own entreaty. Thus the believer has
an "Advocate with the Father," who "ever lives to make intercession." Oh,
costly and precious privilege, that of prayer! Access to
God--fellowship with the Most High--communion with the Invisible One--filial
communion with our Heavenly Father--mighty privilege this!
And yet, vast as it is, it is ours. There will
not, beloved, be a sweeter, a holier, and more precious blessing unfolded to
you throughout this year's experience than this. With the warrant of
approaching God, through Christ, with every need and trial, with every
sorrow and temptation, with every fear, burden, and sin; yes, unveiling to
His eye the profoundest and most sacred secret of your heart, is there out
of heaven a richer, holier privilege? Then, beloved, with the throne of
grace accessible moment by moment--with the Holy Spirit disclosing each
need, inditing each petition, and framing each request--with Christ at the
right hand of God, presenting the petition--and with a Father in heaven
bowing down His ear, and hearkening but to answer--surely we may "trust, and
be not afraid." "Only believe--only trust Me."
Only trust in the sympathy of Christ.--The
blessing of creature sympathy we would not undervalue. The word of God does
not. The Scriptures of truth enjoin and encourage it, yes, command it. "Each
of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests
of others." "If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it." We
believe it to be no small evidence of grace, and to assimilate in no little
degree with the mind that was also in Christ Jesus, to "weep with those that
weep." And yet so enamored with it may we be, so look and cling to it, as to
be insensible to the higher, purer, deeper sympathy of Christ.
The power of human sympathy, like everything created,
must necessarily be limited. A Christian brother or sister has so much
personal trial, anxiety, and pressure of his own, the marvel is that a
single chord of a heart, all whose strings are stretched to such tension on
its own account, can emit a solitary note of real sympathy with our grief.
Let us, then, be thankful to God for the smallest measure of true human
sympathy. But there is no limit, no fathom to the sympathy of Jesus. It is
real, human, most tender, boundless, fathomless. It enters into all our
sorrows, and with a penetration and delicacy indescribable, it insinuates
itself into all the shades and peculiarities of our sorrow. It even enters
into our infirmities. Infirmities into which others cannot enter, and
still more with which we can ill bear ourselves, Jesus sympathizes with.
Infirmities of temperament--infirmities of constitution--infirmities of
habit--infirmities of education--infirmities of position--bodily, mental,
and spiritual infirmities--there is One who enters deeply into all!
He has borne them all--bears them still. Commiserating the feebleness of our
nature--for it is still the robe He wears in heaven--He patiently bears with
us, tenderly deals with us, and gently soothes, supports, and sustains us.
"For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of
our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without
sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may
obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." In this sympathy
Jesus would have us confide. And if upon your opening path there falls the
forecasting shadow of some approaching sorrow--if the sky is lowering and
the surge is swelling--meet it by a renewed appeal to the anticipated
compassion and intercession of Christ. Jesus!--what a plenitude of sympathy,
tenderness, and grace is in that name! Run into it, and you shall be safe
from the coming storm. And when the darkling sorrow comes--the rose hue of
health paling--blossoms falling--flowers withering--hope expiring--fame,
fortune, friends, like the orient tints of evening, fading one by one
away--remember that in JESUS you have a Brother born for your adversity, a
Friend who loved you in eternity--loved you on the cross--loves you on the
throne--and will love you unto the end. He will make the cloud His
chariot--will walk upon your stormy waters--and will say, "Peace, be still!"
"Only believe--only trust Me."
"Commit you all your griefs
And ways into His hands,
To His sure truth and tender care,
Who earth and heaven commands.
"Give to the winds your fears;
Hope, and be undismayed;
God hears your sighs, and counts your tears;
God shall lift up your head.
"Through waves, and clouds, and storms,
He gently clears your way:
Wait on His time--your darkest night
Shall end in brightest day."
Such is the soul-posture to which the Lord invites us,
and in which He would have us calmly repose in view of a year which promises
to be one of much national disquietude and of severe social pressure. The
war cloud lowers more darkly than ever--our fathers, our sons, and our
brothers are girding themselves for a yet more fearful conflict--the
narrowed resources of many--the critical position of capital--the
under-flowing current of restlessness and agitation working its way upward
to the surface, are indices to an intelligent, reflective mind of an
advancing period of extreme pressure and anxiety. With what feeling shall we
confront it?--TRUST IN GOD. "Only believe--only trust Me," are the words
with which Jesus seeks at once to inspire our confidence and allay our
There is no act of the soul more acceptable to God,
because there is none that brings more glory to His Great Name than this.
Wherever we trace in the Scriptures of truth a trust in the Lord,
there we find especial and remarkable deliverance. It is recorded of the
children of Israel that the Lord delivered their enemies into their hand,
"for they cried to God in the battle, and He was entreated of them;
because they put their trust in Him." Again, we read of God's wondrous
message, sent by Jeremiah to Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian, "I will surely
deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but your life shall be for
a prey unto you; because you have put your trust in me, says the Lord,"
Jeremiah 39:16, 18.
The experience, also, of God's people
confirms the blessedness of trusting in the Lord. "In God have I put my
trust; I will not fear what man can do unto me." "I will trust in
the covert of your wings." "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put
confidence in man." "Oh, my God, save your servant who trusts in
You." "The Lord is my trust and my shield; my heart trusted in Him,
and I am helped."
The promises connected with trusting in the
Lord are equally rich and encouraging. "You will keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You. Trust
in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." "The
salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; He is their strength in the time
of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them for He shall
deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in
Him." "None of those who trust in Him shall be desolate." "The Lord
knows those who trust in Him." "Oh, how great is your goodness, which
You have laid up for those who fear You; which You have wrought for those
who trust in You before the sons of men. You shall hide them in the
secret of your presence." "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart
is fixed, trusting in the Lord."
What a marvelous and precious cluster of divine
encouragements to those who trust in the Lord with all their heart, under
all circumstances and at all times! "Only trust," is Jesus' word.
"This is all that I ask of you, the utmost thing I require at your hand. I
demand no costly sacrifice--no wearisome pilgrimage--no personal
worthiness--no strength, or wisdom, or self-endeavors of your own. Only
TRUST ME. Only believe that I wait to answer prayer--that I am
gracious--that I have all power at my command--that I have your interests at
heart--that there is no good thing I am willing to withhold--that I, and I
alone, can guide your present steps, can unravel the web of your
difficulties, guide your perplexities, extricate you from the snares that
have woven their network around your feet, and bring you through fire and
through water into a healthy place. Only TRUST ME!"
Beloved, is this too hard? Is the request unreasonable
and impracticable? What! only to trust Jesus! Only to trust
your needs to His ear--your burdens to His arm--your sorrows to His heart?
Is this too hard? Is it beyond your power? Then tell Jesus so! Remind
Him of His own words, "Without Me you can do nothing." And ask at His hand
the faith to trust, the heart to trust, the courage to trust, and the power
to trust all your interests, temporal and spiritual, for time and for
eternity, into His hands.
This trusting implies a ceasing from self, and from
all confidence in the arm of flesh, and from all reliance in
unbelieving, carnal plans and schemes to obtain deliverance from the
pressure of present trial, and supplies for present need. It involves a
constant, prayerful, and believing leaning on the Lord; a quiet,
patient waiting for the Lord; a peaceful, child-like, passive resting
in the Lord; and a holy, filial walking with the Lord.
Recollect--a leaning upon Christ, a waiting for Christ, a
resting in Christ, and a walking with Christ. Only do this in
all the events of this year--in all your trials and temptations, needs and
sorrows, and it shall be in truth a happy year. Only trust Him to lead you
by a right way to bring you to heaven. Only trust Him to appear in His own
good time to deliver you from a present cross, to remove a present burden,
to supply a present need, and to conduct you into the green pastures and the
sweet flowing waters of His truth and love. So delightsome to Him will be
this calm, submissive trust--so honoring of His faithfulness, and so
glorifying to His name this full, implicit confidence--He will honor and
bless you by granting the desires of your heart, and bestowing, from the
plenitude of His resources, every blessing that you ask and need.
Above all other trusts, trust to Jesus your priceless
soul. Relax your grasp upon everything else but Jesus. Let
go your religious duties and doings--your sacraments and prayers, your works
of righteousness, and Babel-built hopes of heaven--and only trust,
and trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved. No
poor, penitent sinner did He ever reject--none was He ever known to cast
away. And if you come and trust in His righteousness alone to justify you,
and to give you acceptance with God, and a title to eternal glory, you will
be the first that ever perished at His feet--if you perish there!
Cease from all unbelieving reasonings and proud objections. If you are
conscious of your need of pardon; if, above all things, you desire pardon;
if you despair of doing anything whatever to deserve it; if you are really
willing to receive it, as guilty, condemned, helpless, dying men; then you
are as much warranted as sinners can be to go, in Christ's name, to the
mercy-seat, and to take this complete and eternal pardon as your own.
To you, as well as to the proud in heart, God says, "Put
Me in remembrance--Let us plead together." "Tell Me not for ever of your
unfitness for My kingdom, your rebellion, and your crimes. Tell Me of My
invitations to the guilty, and My promises to the lost. Tell Me of the blood
that was shed to save you. Tell Me of the tears, and prayers, and
righteousness, the cross and passion of My Son. Show Me that you can trust
My words. Only believe, and though you were as sinful as the cursing Peter,
or as unworthy as the persecuting Saul, I, even I, am He that blots out your
transgressions, for My own sake, and will not remember your sins." (Bradley)
Are you a lone widow? a helpless orphan? homeless,
friendless? Does your heart curse some secret sorrow, some anxious care,
some crushing burden? Is life's landscape draped in wintry gloom, and all
your future cheerless, starless, uncertain to your view? Come, beloved, and
hear the wondrous, sympathizing, cheering words of Jesus--"Only trust Me!"
Hear your Father and your God say--"As your day, so shall your strength be."
"As your day." Each new burden shall bring its support; each new difficulty,
its guidance; each new sorrow, its soothing; and each new day, its strength.
Be it your only care to deny all ungodliness, and to walk worthy of your
high vocation; to separate yourself more widely and distinctly from the
world, its practices and its spirit; to more closely resemble Christ in His
gentle, charitable, forgiving spirit; and yielding yourself more entirely to
the disposal of the Lord, to do as seems Him good. And should you this year
be called to meet death--to hear the summons that bids you rise--then, when
all other things are receding from your view, and all other voices are dying
upon your ear, Jesus will approach, and, amid the gloom and stillness of the
shadowy valley, you shall see His person, and hear Him say--"be not
afraid--only trust Me!"
"When adverse winds and waves arise,
And in the heart despondence sighs;
When life her throng of care reveals,
And weakness o'er my spirit steals;
Grateful I hear the kind decree,
That 'as your day, your strength shall be.'
"When, with sad footsteps, memory roves
'Mid smitten joys and buried loves;
When sleep my tearful pillow flies,
And dewy morning drinks my sighs;
Still to your promise, Lord, I flee,
That 'as your day, your strength shall be.'
"One trial more must yet be past,
One pang, the keenest and the last;
And when with brow convulsed and pale,
My feeble quivering heart-strings fail,
Redeemer, grant my soul to see
That 'as her day, her strength shall be.'"
"Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you." Psalm 37:5