The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

Jesus, Jehovah Rophi

To Miss M., November 17, 1854.
My beloved friend,
I must first thank you for your last kind note, which was very sweet and refreshing. It is a privilege to hear of the triumph of faith, when flesh and sense would say, "All these things are against me." I do not know the lady you mention—but rejoice to hear of her testimony for the Lord, and am also thankful that it proved encouraging to you.

All the ways of the Lord are right ways, and we lose much sweetness for lack of resignation to His will in all things. While we fret against the Cross, it is felt the heavier. I believe, too, that we are losers by not receiving all events as from Him. By looking at second causes we come into great perplexity; and whatever creatures may intend against us, our Heavenly Father has some high purpose of grace in all that He allows to befall us. He could prevent every apparent wrong, and He would, were not each bitter in our cup essential for His own glory and our real profit. The assurance of this has been very healing to my spirit many times under blights and losses, and also under mental wounds from those dear to me. I feel there is some personal lesson in all these things; and often, when I would have felt ready to censure the instrument, I have discovered some pride or other lurking evil in myself, which the Lord aimed at by the troubling circumstance, intending by His Spirit to bring it to light and rebuke it. Thus has my mouth been stopped, and brought to kiss the hand which held the rod, however inexcusable in itself that rod might be.

Also, when the heart is thus humbled, the wrong of others against us seems but secondary to our own, albeit ours may be against the Lord only. Oh, let us seek to be so instructed of the Lord that the rod and reproof may give wisdom. Let us aim at confiding love in Him, for He is infinite wisdom, and needs none of our interference.

If, too, the Lord severely tries our faith, it is only to manifest Himself afresh as Jehovah Jireh (Jehovah will provide), or Jehovah Rophi (Jehovah our healer), or Jehovah Tsidkenu (Jehovah our righteousness), or under some other blessed covenant name, which is to be seen more brightly in the dark place. Moreover, if He takes away our Isaacs, it is only to make more room for Himself; and if He lessens our earthly store, it is only that we may live more immediately upon Himself. I want grace and faith to walk with Him when He walks against my flesh, not for destruction—but for salvation. "Whoever is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord." I am very fond of the word "understand" in that verse, because I am very sure we often misconceive the Lord's loving-kindness; and, judging by sense and carnal reason, think it is unkindness, when in truth He is in love drawing us nearer to Himself. And oh! is it not worth everything to be near Him, and to hear Him say, "You are ever with me, and all that I have is yours!" His heart of love, His life of obedience, His death and sufferings, His triumphant resurrection and ascension, His intercession, His glory--all are ours! And, what is best of all, He Himself is ours! For the glory of His person outmatches all that He has done, and to know for myself that "my beloved is mine" is a taste of the fullness of bliss!

Well, my beloved friend, the dark steps we were noticing above are just the way by which the Lord often leads His children on to this blessedness. They do not generally reach it all at once, though some receive the white stone much sooner than others—but many have to travel the barren land of deserts and of pits, to wander in a solitary way, to have their hearts made desolate and their earthly substance blighted, before Christ is revealed in them as their all—as the hope and the foretaste of glory. Well, it matters not how, if we do but come to know Him as ours in power and preciousness; and to this I doubt not you shall be brought, though often the way may seem long and your steps be weary.

The cost and consequences of the journey rest not with you. All the weight of it is upon Him who has said to His Father, "I will be surety for them, of my hand shall you require them: if I bring them not unto You, and set them before You, then let me bear the blame forever." Ever precious Jesus, so able, so willing to bear all the burden of all who come unto Him! If you have nothing in yourself to encourage you, which I am sure you have not, there is plenty in Him, for with Him is mercy and plenteous redemption. May the Spirit enable you to be coming, coming, ever coming unto Him; so will your faith grow, and your great enemy, unbelief, be trodden down. (See Micah 7:19) Fear not, the Lord will help you, He will strengthen you, He will deliver you. "God shall help her, and that right early." (Psalm 46:5)

I had not thought of writing so much without mentioning dear Mr. D—but have been unexpectedly led on. I gave your remembrance to him, and his kind heart was grieved at your disappointment. He said how much he wished to see you—but could not; and he often trembled when made useful to anyone, lest they should look to him, and then he knew something would come to disappoint and pain them. This is much what you express. The Lord seal the instruction, and teach us how to look through, and not to, the dearest instruments, that they may never come between our souls and Him! I much enjoy what I have read of the ancient philosopher who declined the riches and honors offered to him by the emperor, saying, he "desired nothing so much of him as that he would stand out of the sunshine." And so would I say to every creature and everything, "Pray stand from between me and the sun; eclipse not the glory of my Beloved, hide Him not in the least from my view, and let Him give or withhold what He pleases, so I may but enjoy Himself." This is the language of the new heart. The old heart is a very treacherous dealer, and when conferred with, brings on the doleful cry, "My leanness, my leanness;" but "the elder shall serve the younger," this is the cheering promise.

We have had Mr. H— here also. His testimony was clear, faithful, and savory. I think you would have enjoyed much the Sabbath morning from "I am the Lord that heals you." Mr. H— spoke of the leprosy and its cure, as a striking type of our soul malady; also of diseases we are subject to after a sense of pardon and healing. Faith is subject to paralysis; it gets weak and shaky, the soul looking more at self than Jesus—but of this disease "I am the Lord that heals you;" our love sometimes takes cold, no warmth or fervor felt; a sense of His love is the healing of ours, "who heals all your diseases."

But I must close this long note. Like you, I feel more anxious for health of soul than of body, that the life I live in the flesh may be by the faith of the Son of God, and that I may not live upon evidences and feelings—but upon Him alone by faith. Thus will evidences and feelings be kept fresh and lively; whereas while we seek to rest in them they must be withheld, that so we may trust in Jesus only.

In Him and His precious love I am ever yours affectionately,