Affliction's Lessons, and Bereavement; Subjection of Will

Psalm 39:9  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Beloved Sisters,—Here I am at last at Montpellier, not knowing how long I ought to stay here. Outwardly there is not much to make me remain. However, I believe that God has something in His mind, and though I shall go after a little into the Gard, I do not think of leaving Montpellier altogether. God, I trust, will lead me. I have all confidence in Him, who governs according to His thoughts of grace, and not according to those of man.
But in writing to you, it is rather you, your sister, and your family that I think of, for cold and undemonstrative as I am, you cannot think that after so much kindness and care that you have lavished upon me, I could be indifferent to what concerns you. I was deeply touched by the news, received through———, of the death of your poor nephew. I was ready to complain of you for having told me nothing about it, but that I had regard to the affliction that a blow so felt must have produced. But I venture to assure you of all my sympathy. I know that it is the Lord alone who can really comfort when He strikes us, and the source of our consolation is precisely the feeling that it is He Himself who so loved us, who strikes us, for that which comes from His hand can only be perfect. We shall not know how to explain it; the heart suffers by it; but it is our Father that has given the cup to drink; that was the only, and it was perfect, consolation of Jesus. One recognizes the hand of one who is known; we do not stop at the circumstances that appear to us mysterious, we refer in them to Him, and all is changed; the heart is softened by it, does not wish it to be otherwise, but the will is not in rebellion, and we are comforted near Him, feeling more than ever that He is our all. What a precious lesson, what a glorious position! God alone could have placed us there. Until we are there, the flesh will stir: we must not be surprised at it: and then all will be dark, because we see everything after our own hearts, and light is not in man; but if the life of Christ is in us, we shall see that there is sin in it; it will be exposed; we shall feel that we had need to be smitten; submission will come; we leave ourselves before God. "I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it." Then peace will soon be there. If the soul is already subject, then nothing separates us from His love; and confidence in this love gives us an unruffled peace.
Dear sisters, I can weep with you and the family of your poor dear C. like the Jews with Mary, but I know that He who loves him can sustain your souls. I have confidence in Him with regard to you.... I trust this painful blow will be a blessing: Be assured also yourselves of my entire sympathy. I feel that this will operate in a different manner with each of you, but our precious Savior will do His own work in each of His own. From what I saw three months ago, I thought that-might be discouraged and cast down by this affliction. If it be so, let her remember that His ways are not as our ways, and that the heart of Jesus, of Him who smites us, has itself passed through all the trials through which He makes us pass; that He cannot make us taste anything for our good without having drunk Himself all its bitterness to the dregs. He knows what He is doing; He suffers all that He inflicts. It is His love, His knowledge of all that makes Him do all that He does. Let us have full confidence in Him who has been tempted in all things like unto us. Do not impose on yourself the task of replying to me. I think of seeing you before very long. There is an English brother who lost his wife nearly a year ago, who will be with me.
Your very affectionate brother.
March 15th, 1844.