Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Life of Faith is a Wonderful Life

A letter by Mary Winslow (1774-1854). The date the letter was written is not given nor the name of the person to whom she wrote. Her letter is about faith, in particular, the trial of faith. If anyone knew by experience how to walk by faith during difficult times, it was Mary Winslow. At forty years of age, she was widowed and left to raise nine children in her newly adopted country, America. She truly learned to walk by faith in times of suffering. Her counsel is wise and tried.

But you must look above and beyond these earthly disappointments, to Jesus as our only Friend. We only want more faith to ask at His hands what we will, and to be satisfied with what He gives, believing that if more were for our good, our dearest and best Friend would give more.

The life of faith is a wonderful life. Honoured is the Christian who is called to live it. He is trained in this life to know more of himself, and more of the unchanging character, love, and tender, watchful care of his heavenly Father. Has God so loved us as to give His only and well-beloved Son to die for us, and is it probably that He will withhold anything that is absolutely needful for us? The trial of faith is the sure way of increasing it. We ask for more faith, and God tries what we have, and that is His way of answering our prayer for its increase. He brings us into trials, so that we are compelled to look only to Him for help. He knocks from beneath us every human and earthly prop; for (to our shame be it spoken) we are for ever hewing out creature cisterns, and constructing earthly supports, instead of going without ceasing to our sure and faithful Friend for all we need.

I sometimes think it were a greater trial to be rich than to be poor. Of this I am quite sure, that riches to the Christian are a great snare, as well as a great trouble, and entails more anxiety and sorrow than real pleasure and enjoyment. If ever I have wished for affluence, it has been to help others. Yet in so doing, what losers might the objects of my charity be in this experimental acquaintance with the Saviour's love! Why did our all-wise God lead the children of Israel through the wilderness, and feed them day by day with manna from heaven and water from the rock, but to shew them what was in them, and what was in Him?

And so He feeds and cares for His sheep now. He is unchanged and unchangeable. He took care of Elisha, and He takes care of us; so let us be of good courage, and trust fully in the Lord our God.

Heaven Opened: A Selection from the Correspondence of Mrs. Mary Winslow, edited by her son, Octavius Winslow, 1864, reprinted by Reformation Heritage Books, 2001, pp. 222-223 (the letter has been broken up into paragraphs in order to make it more readable).

No comments: