The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

The presence of Christ in a time of affliction

To E. M., March, 1859. (This letter was received by a mother at a time of severe trial, when her husband and her five children were ill with measles.)

Much-loved friend,

I sincerely wish you the exercising of the Holy Spirit in the afflictions through which you are passing, that you may have the full benefit thereof; for it has been truly said, that "sanctified afflictions are great promotions." And those promotions come neither from the east nor from the westóbut from the Lord alone, by whose poweró

"Trials make the promise sweet,
 Trials give new life to prayer,
 Trials bring me to His feet,
 Lay me low and keep me there."

Many a visit of love has the Lord paid, and many a secret of love has the Lord revealed in the time of affliction; and some of the sweetest communings in the wilderness have been with the thorn in the flesh, or the cross on the back. Does not your soul respond to the truth of this? Is not Jesus a precious companion in tribulation? Are not His sympathies most tender? Has He not drawn near in the day when we cried unto Him, and said unto us, "Fear not!" Oh yes, the fruits of the valley are very choiceóbut yet we fear to go down there; forgetting who has said, "I will go down with you, and will also surely bring you up again!" Are we not brought down into the valley of trouble or humiliation--to cause us to rest only in Jesus? "These things (these afflictive things) I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

At times trials seem to overcome us, yet "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." "This is the place of rest, let the weary rest; this is the place of repose." So you prove it, so I prove it; and the rock of His faithfulness is a blessed retreat, when our heart is overwhelmed within us. The honey of His love dropping from that rock does sweetly revive our fainting souls, and make us joyful in tribulation, so that we sing even in the trial, "He has done all things well!"

The measles have come at the right time, and have taken hold of the right people. They are the Lord's messengers--and are not the sound of their Master's feet behind them? "Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the Refiner." The Refiner is with you; trust Him with your dearest treasures, and may you feel Him dearer than all. I am very fond of these wordsó"And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God!" May we have like precious faith.

Adieu! with dear love your affectionateóbut unworthy companion in tribulation,

"He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as his most precious possession. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them in and carried them aloft on his pinions. The Lord alone guided them; they lived without any foreign gods." Deuteronomy 32:10-12