THERE IS A LIFTING UP
A letter from the
late F. L. Rowell
I feel I must send you a note for I have not answered your letter in which you spoke of the blessed season which the Lord granted to you the other weekend. May the visits of His presence and power continue with you I pray. Since I last wrote we have passed through some very sore troubles but in them the grace of the Lord has been very clearly seen.
About a month ago I was in a very dark place – the Psalmist calls it Meshech and Kedar, a place of darkness, captivity, guilt and misery. No word from the Lord and it seemed, no life in my soul. In addition to this – the sore trouble, I find, of living souls, indwelling sin.
Besides this, one of those I had baptised was leaving us and I felt this keenly. Trouble had come along at B …. and in maintaining the right of church government I had crossed some of the pew-renters at the chapel who I considered had been exercising an influence which was sometimes far from good. A certain person here had made, or reported complaints against my ministry, particularly my testimony against the sin of our nature and heart and also upon the point of believers’ baptism. Though I was strongly persuaded of the validity of what I had said concerning this, the criticism at a time of darkness of soul was most distressing. In addition to this, financial difficulties had accumulated and it was evident that if some appearance of the Lord was not manifest we should soon be in real difficulties.
I shall never forget the feelings I had at the time of Mr. Marsden’s funeral for it was that day when all the trouble had
accumulated. I mourned for Zion and the loss she had sustained and my heart was also distressed that no blessing seemed to attend my ministry anywhere. I just mention these things that you may know how I felt at the time.
Now I must tell you how the Lord turned my captivity. The morning after, I went to my study and all I could do was just to groan, “Lord help me.” As I opened my eyes after an attempt at prayer they fell upon a magazine on my desk and words I saw were “My brother”. Immediately the words fell upon my spirit, “A brother is born for the day of adversity”. What a blessed manifestation there was with this, of Christ’s love and suffering for me and the constant continuous care which He was exercising on my behalf even in the darkness as well as when it was light. The clouds of fear departed. I knew the Brother’s power and His voice was unmistakeable.
What has been the outcome? First of all, a very real token for good in the confession an old friend was able to make to me of the blessing he had received from the Lord and a testimony from his lips of the usefulness of my ministry. Also, a friend at Lymm sensed that I was in trouble and mentioning his impression to Mr. Wright, he sent me Â£50 which has, as men say, put us on our feet again. What a change there was also in the ministry! I have preached five or six times from Psalm 40, 1-3. which has been entirely my experience, and what thanksgiving and praise there has been from my heart to the Lord again and again! How I do want to continue there – to know no will but His and to be able to live in the light of His countenance.
Matters at B…. seem to have been put right by the Lord – in any case passions have been allayed whereas, at the time, it seemed as though there would be a real upheaval.
Psalm 119. 11 was very truly the feeling of my heart after this visit of the Lord. How easily and readily His word is hid as rich treasure in the heart that has long hungered for a crumb from His table and what a hatred of, and desire to be delivered from sin, is found in the heart.
Bunyan depicts Christian struggling through the Slough of Despond but unable to get out until Help arrives. Then, and only then, can it be said, “He brought me up out of an horrible pit out of the miry clay and set my feet upon the Rock.”
But I must not run on like this. I have learned fresh lessons of God’s grace to a weak needy sinner and though the path is a difficult and trying one the Lord is never too late in appearing for us. His power is to the uttermost and His love is totally beyond our comprehension. How worthless I am but how full of grace He is!
Concerning the financial difficulty, I cannot tell you how glad I am that the difficulty was removed without mentioning it to anyone at all. In this as in other matters the hand of the Lord has been so clearly seen.
Your affectionate son,