ENCOURAGEMENT IN TEMPTATION
This will be the first note to you at your new address so I will wish you well and assure you of continued prayer, as I am enabled of the Lord (you know the painful meaning of that phrase now and you shall also know its joyous meaning again also), that the Lord may bless you in soul and body whilst you are there.
If I tell you of my own experiences of late it may be of some help to you and bring comfort in your anxiety. On the first Sunday in February I had a wonderful time of the love of the Lord in my heart. It was the culmination of some weeks of blessing when I had been able to stand on “High Places” and see, to my own humbling and to the great glory of the Lord, how gracious He was to me, a sinner, through the sufferings and blood of His dear Son, Jesus Christ. Since then however, how different things have been. I did know that no man can keep alive his own soul but there came coldness and hardness of heart, shall I say it?, almost a distaste for the Word that had been of so great a blessing to me in the past, no liberty in prayer and sometimes hardly any concern about this state, and yet there was! What a paradox it is and must only be explained by the fact that in the quickened soul there are two armies. Let the Lord withdraw His sweet influence for a little time and how quickly we fall a prey to our old nature. Perhaps Hymn 295, Gadsbys, may describe better than I can the condition. The verses 3 to 5 of this remarkable hymn of Newton’s has often given some light upon my dark places together with the inspired record of Romans 7 and 8. It is so easy to read the eighth chapter and neglect the seventh and I do not doubt that if you told some Christians of your feelings at the present time they would completely misunderstand you for they have never visited Romans 7 as many of us have had to do to learn that “In me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing”.
“Rooted and grounded in love”. No it will not mock you in the end, lad. Whose love are you to be rooted in? Our love to the Lord is always subject to change and fluctuation, as soil that one day is hard and the next day is soft. But to find no good in self and have to go out of self and all human emotions and hope upon, or root into the Love of the Lord as set forth in the Word in precious promises of grace is the blessed teaching of the Holy Spirit. Jacob knew a “Rooting” time when he had to cry in need “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me”, and you shall find that the greater the sense of your sin and deadness you are made to know, the greater will be the need of One Who is Life and Grace.
In the winter the tree shows no leaf, bud, flower or fruit, but it is whilst the tempest blows and the biting frost and all enveloping snow prevails that the roots are going down deeper and deeper into the soil. The cry, with greater meaning than ever before, “I cannot do without Thee”, is an evidence of rooting though there appears to be no fruit yet. And where are these roots going out towards? Is it not that the root of our being has had to turn away from all the things from which we thought we could draw our good, strength and acceptance before the Lord (Phil. 3, 3-16), and to turn and seek from Him all that can really be good, that can be our strength, and can be our acceptance before the Lord?
It is the poor, the needy and the helpless who really have to prayÂ—
“Work in me Lord, and for me too,
And guide me right and bring me through”, and there we have to learn how true are the words of Christ, “Without me ye can do nothing”.
Hosea 2, 14-16 is worthy of your attention. Who would have thought that vineyards would have been given from the wilderness and that the valley of troubling (Achor), would have been made the open door of hope? Yet does not David declare, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”? We are often apt to try to tie such a declaration to some outward trial of David’s life, it may have been so, but sure it is that all those who are brought to truly fear the Lord shall know the horrible pit of the captivity of their will and the miry clay of their own wicked nature and shall as surely prove THE MIRACLE of the Holy Spirit in bringing them “up out of”.
I trust that these few notes written with much prayer in my heart for you may be some consolation to your troubled heart and may encourage you in the posture of those that WAIT UPON THE LORD. Precious are the promises to such despite the helplessness that this waiting often reveals.
Much love from us all here,