The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

The blessings of affliction

To E. M., September 22, 1852.

"Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security." Jeremiah 33:6

Much beloved and often-remembered friend,
The tidings received from you this morning made me sorry, and yet I must say, "It is well," for I do believe it, knowing that "He does all things well." May this trial be as a lattice, through which Jesus will show himself to your souls. Trial is one lattice, which He often looks through, with much tenderness, (Isa. 63:9,) upon His redeemed ones. He looked through the pillar of fire and cloud, to trouble His enemies, and hinder their flight; (Exod. 14:24;) but He was in the fire and cloud to preserve and guide His people safely through the deep, so that not even a little one was left behind. It might be that "little faith" looked at the walls of water, and feared they would give way; but those fears did not make the promise of no effect, though they might rob the soul of comfort. Was it not wonderful that the same cloud, which was light to Israel, was darkness to the foe; and the same water, which was as walls of salvation to one, was death and destruction to the other? (Exod. 14:28, 29.) So it is with bodily afflictions and providential trials; to the worldling they are destroyers of his best enjoyments; to the child of God they are often the very high road to them. To the worldling they are only bitter; to the other it is a mingled portion, for

"Though their cup seems mixed with gall,
There's something secret sweetens all."

"I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto You, O Lord, will I sing." And it is as of old: "Our God turned the curse into a blessing."

Last evening, the love of God, (John 3:16) its gift, its effects, and its consummation, (Rev. 7:9) were simply and sweetly spoken of. Oh, indeed! the love of God is a precious theme with those who feel it and who can say, "We love Him because He first loved us." What an amazing love to bestow such a gift! My soul does muse and marvel. Bring it home to yourself. Think of giving one of your sweet babes to poverty, hardship, toil, disgrace, and a torturing death. You could not do it even for your loved husband; and they are not as lovely as that precious, spotless Lamb; and they are not as much beloved as He. Yet His Father gave Him, and bruised Him, and "put Him to grief" for the ungodly, (Rom. 5:6) for enemies, (Col. 1:20, 21) for the unjust. (1Pet. 3:18.) Truly, herein is unparalleled love. May the Holy Spirit apply it, shed it abroad in our hearts, and encourage us to come unto the Father by Him.

The Lord has prepared of His goodness for the poor; so if you are learning your poverty, it is to prepare you for the feast prepared for you.

Yours affectionately,