The Letters of Ruth Bryan, 1805-1860

The power of faith

To Miss M., June 3, 1858.
My beloved friend,
It is a mercy when we are enabled to deal openly with the Lord, and in child-like simplicity, to carry to Him every fresh perplexity, whether great or small. Nothing is too minute for His notice and counsel, nothing too mighty for Him to overrule and bring deliverance. Sometimes He brings deliverance in the trouble by blessed support and communion; sometimes deliverance out of the trouble by making a way of escape. But in whatever way He is pleased to work, He will answer those who call upon Him, for He has said, "Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you know not." "Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." May the grace of wrestling prayer be given, that you may put Him to the test of His own words, and may you look to His promises and not to your own feelings for encouragement to plead. Our ever prevailing plea is, the blood and righteousness of Jesus, in whom all the promises of God are yes and amen; and sometimes warm feelings are withheld that we may trust alone in Him and not to them. Faith can venture before the throne with "Jesus only," but sense wants the honey of sweet feelings to offer (Lev. 2:11) with the Lamb, and thus to have more hope of acceptance; but we are accepted only in the Beloved, and our confidence before the Lord is to be by His blood alone through faith. (Heb. 10:19; Eph. 3:12)

Oh, my dear friend, may you meditate on these things, for I feel sure that the living Church is, in the present day, much held in bondage by seeking to live more by feeling than by faith. The life of faith is not an unfeeling life, a cold life, a half-hearted life, a life of worldly conformity; it is faith that follows Christ fully, and forsakes all for Him, as Joshua and Caleb did when all the people talked of stoning them. They well knew their own weakness and the strength of the enemyóbut rested all their trust in the love and faithfulness of the Lord, while those who walked by sight and sense looked only at the giant foes, and at their own weakness. Thus it is with us spiritually; when poring only upon what we are, we grow more and more discouraged; and seeking water from the creature cistern, our tongue fails for thirst, for there is none there! But it is in the fountain of living waters, even our precious Jesus, in whom all fullness dwells for poor and needy souls; and when we are brought to this extremity, He kindly says, "I the Lord will hear them: I the God of Israel will not forsake them."

How feelingly can my heart renew the cry, "Lord, increase my faith," for, alas! I often stagger through unbelief, not upon the subject of personal interest in Christóbut upon many others of less importance, yes and upon that also should I stagger if the Lord left me to the carnal reasonings of the flesh, "so foolish am I and ignorant." Well, may it please Him to bring us to say with the apostle, "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God." Faith humbly presses on through the tribulation path, looking unto Jesus, and fully understands that excellent saying of Hewitson, "The soul will be staggered even by loose stones in the way--if we look manward; if we look Godward--faith will not be staggered even by inaccessible mountains stretching and obstructing apparently our outward progress." Perhaps I shall weary you; but this subject of faith is dear to my heart, and I do long for your furtherance and joy of faith. Let not that which is lame be turned out of the wayóbut let it rather be healed. "Strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you!" Yes, the feeble and the fearing He will save. Oh! may the feet and ankle bones of faith receive strength to enter into Christ the true temple, leaping and walking and praising God. I wish you every blessing, and all needful grace, for He is able to make all grace abound towards you.

With kind love, ever yours affectionately,