Sighing for Jesus!

James Smith, 1858

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God! My soul thirsts for God, for the living God! When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1-2

I have just been reading of the last days of a believer in Jesus, a kind of reading of which I am very fond. For while I admire the holy and useful lives of Christians, and look upon them as the best and most certain evidences of true faith; yet I love to listen to their dying testimony, and mark how they acted in the swellings of Jordan. I know what it is to live but I do not know what it is to die, and therefore as I must die, and I know not how soon, or how suddenly I love to accompany others to the last conflict, and observe how they endure and overcome.

Death-beds differ, even the death-beds of true believers. Some are filled with joy, others are only hopeful. Some glide away smoothly and softly while others have much hard fighting at the last. Some have no doubts or fears while others are very much tried with them. Some shout victory others can only say, "I have a good hope." Some speak much to those about them others say but very little. This was the case with the good man I was reading of, his whole dying experience was comprehended in one sentence, "I am sighing for Jesus!"

He did not sigh for life, nor for ease but he was sighing for Jesus. I cannot help observing, how much of my experience now, is expressed in those words, "I am sighing for Jesus." Yes, yes, I can do without riches, or fame, or the honor which man confers. I am pretty well content with what providence sends me and yet I often sigh, and sigh deeply too. Some would think me unhappy but I am not. Some may conclude I am discontented with my situation in life but I am not. Yet I sigh I often sigh.

I have read of a bird, which if caught and caged, never ceases to sigh, until it obtains its liberty, or dies. I am somewhat like that bird, and I expect I shall continue to sigh until I obtain my desire. I have had a glimpse of Jesus and I sigh for a full view of him. I have tasted the sweetness of communion with him and I sigh for uninterrupted fellowship. I have felt a little of the cleansing influence of his precious blood, and Holy Spirit and I sigh for a thorough cleansing, that I may be perfectly and forever holy. I sigh to be exactly like Jesus! I sigh to be forever with Jesus! I believe that if I were just like him, and always with him that I would sigh no more. But I think nothing else will put a complete stop to my sighing.

Perhaps someone is ready to say, "Oh, I have often heard you religious people go sighing about and I felt sure that you were miserable, notwithstanding all your pretensions." Stop, not too fast, friend you have heard us sigh but we are not miserable. No, no, we have more of real happiness while sighing than you have while singing. We have been just what you are, and where you are and know therefore what you enjoy, and we would not exchange our saddest hours, for your most joyous ones! We do sigh but we sing also; and our sighing very frequently is but like tuning the instrument, in order to the production of sweet and thrilling music. Our sighs always introduce songs now; and our sighs on the bed of death will end in the glorious songs of Paradise.

We only sigh for what God has promised us. Our sighing is produced by the sweet and ravishing tastes we have had of the love and grace of Jesus. We do not sigh for sinful pleasure, or forbidden objects; no, we sigh for Jesus; that we may know him more perfectly, love him more entirely, and enjoy him uninterruptedly! And this we shall do by and by; the day is coming, and it may be very near, when the days of our mourning shall be ended, and when we shall heave the last sigh, and begin the never-ending song. "The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away!" Isaiah 51:11

Reader, do you ever sigh? What do you sigh about? Is it only about worldly disappointments, or earthly trials, or bodily pains? If so, I pity you, heartily do I pity you, for your sighs will not produce any good result, "the sorrow of the world," or worldly sorrow, the sorrow of worldly men about worldly things, "works death." This is the testimony of God, and it is true, as thousands have already found it, and we fear that thousands more will.

But are you sighing for something better than you have, something that will give you solid peace, enable you to pass through life's trials with confidence, and face death's terrors with courage? If so, go at once to Jesus and he will give you what you need, and give it freely. He has inspired many a timid heart with courage, he has imparted peace to many a troubled breast, he has given confidence to many a fearful soul, and he will do the same for you. You may sigh afterwards but the very nature of your sighing will be changed, nor will you sigh for the same object. You will only sigh for more of what you have, for the perfecting of the work begun.

Timid Christian, take comfort, you are sighing for Jesus; so am I; so was the dying Christian I was reading of. Our experience is the same, produced no doubt by the same Holy Spirit, and occasioned by the same ardent longing for holiness and perfect joy. We belong to the same family, are entitled to the same blessings, and are traveling to the same glorious home!

Our sorrows will soon end, and our sighing forever cease. We shall soon be with Jesus, like Jesus, and everlastingly employed in praising Jesus; and then, we shall sigh no more! The experience of the wilderness only fits us for the land of rest! The sorrows of earth only prepare us for the joys of Heaven!

Let us then sigh but not be sad. Let us mourn but never murmur. Let us carry the cross, face the foe, breast the wave, push on our way through the desert, and expect the glorious end to crown the whole! In the field of labor, while at a distance from home, during our conflict with sin and Satan, with our doubts and fears it is no wonder that we sigh! But once at home, once at rest, once with Jesus we shall sigh no more! No one ever sighed for Jesus, who did not love him. No one who ever loved Jesus and manifested it by sighing for him was ever left to perish nor ever will. Then, O then, may I sigh for Jesus while I live; and when lying on my dying pillow may this be this my dying testimony, "I am sighing for Jesus!"