I Let Myself Go

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
A young person over 20 years of age, in lowly circumstances, but of considerable natural refinement, came home from her situation. I had known her before she went away from the village, so that, on hearing of her illness, I called upon her at once. I found her very weak in body, and not only without any personal trust in the Saviour, but unwilling to hear much about spiritual things. On visiting such I seldom ask any questions, believing it to be an unwise course, greatly hindering the first work to be done, namely, the gaining of the confidence of the invalid. It is not often difficult to discover the spiritual state of one thus brought into “deep waters.” A word will sometimes reveal their state—show that they are in darkness, and that their foundation is insecure. I sat a while and talked about my own sister’s illness, about the Saviour and God’s perfect dealings; then, having offered a short prayer, I left. This I did several times, talking more and more directly to her on each visit, seeking to awaken anxiety about her soul, and to call forth trust in Jesus.
For a time there seemed little sign of awakening, and yet I was not without hope. I called on the last evening of the year, that I might use the solemnity of its last hours in urging her to go to the cross, ere the old year died away, that she might enter upon the coming year a new creature in Christ, and that, despite her sickness, it might be the happiest new year she had ever known. Though she gave me no promise earnestly to seek the Saviour at once, I left in much hope.
Two days after this interview, I was told she wished particularly to see me. On entering her room I found Elizabeth somewhat stronger and sitting up. I greeted her, “You need not tell me what has taken place—your countenance explains all.” The darkness, the troubled look, had altogether gone, and the clear light and peace of a confiding child were there instead. “To the desert, the excellency of Carmel and of Sharon had been given.”
“O,” said Elizabeth, “you cannot tell how great my joy is!”
“I am not sure that I cannot,” I replied. “Besides, I am not sure that your joy is greater than mine. Yours is the joy of pardon, mine the joy of having a share in the Saviour’s joy over a soul coming to Him. Now tell me all! How you found such peace, and on what your hope rests.”
Elizabeth said, “I have long been feeling my need of a Saviour, and I tried to believe, but could not. I wanted the right feelings; and could find no peace. It was after you left on the last evening of the old year, I knelt down and earnestly asked God to help me to believe, and then, I cannot tell you how it was, but in some way I let myself go. I yielded myself to Christ, or rather I let Him take me and save me. Then at once I found pardon and peace. I could trust Jesus, and I knew I was pardoned. I see it all now, though I could see nothing before.”
“Then you are not afraid to die now?”
“No, indeed,” she replied. “Death did seem awful to me—so dark and terrible, with no ray of light—but all fear has gone. I fear life more than death now, lest in my weakness I should fail to follow Jesus.”
“Do you not see that that simple petition of yours, asking God to help you to believe, was an acknowledgment of your own helplessness, and was really turning away from yourself for help, and looking up in felt guilt and need to God? Thus your soul was brought into saving contact with the Great Physician.”
How strangely we stumble over the simplicity of faith. We even try to believe and cannot, but when we can let ourselves go, leaving it all to the Saviour, peace and joy follow.
We knelt together and poured out our thankful hearts before Him who had rescued the one and used the other, and made us both rejoice together.
With this perfect peace, Elizabeth soon regained much strength. Jesus was to her indeed the Great Physician, healing both body and soul. She was able to sit up much longer, and soon to walk across the room without help, and before long to come downstairs. Christian friends were now joyfully welcomed, and though Elizabeth always felt much indebted for their visits, I think there were but few who did not receive as much as they gave. As one, who had herself gathered “many of the peaceable fruits of righteousness” from her own afflictions, said, “The change is so wonderful in Elizabeth, her spiritual vision so clear, her trust so calm, her peace so profound, that I go more to be helped than to render help.” Two or three years before Elizabeth’s sickness, her mother, to whom she had clung with all her heart, had been taken away. After this there came the emigration of her brother who was more to her than all the rest of the family—but now she saw that God had removed them to whom she had clung the most, in order that she might be driven to cling to, and lean upon the Saviour. The whole Bible was lighted up to her by the Spirit, and she said, “It seemed to me as uninteresting as it could be, before I found Christ, and I wondered how people endured to read the same chapters over and over again; but now I cannot turn to a verse that does not seem precious. It is indeed ‘sweeter than honey, or the honeycomb.’”
“I know now,” she said one day, “why my cousin used so often to repeat the word ‘Father’ when he prayed. I could hear him in my room, and often wondered why he so used it. Where the spirit of adoption is, the whole heart goes forth more fully in that precious name than in any other, and when the heart does not know what it wants, it falls back upon the near and dear relationship, the very mention of which sums up all our petitions.”
“Little did I think I was in such total darkness before my conversion. I thought I was in the light, and as good a Christian as others that went to church, yet I could not see the kingdom of God. I did not believe there was an inner life, but thought is mere fancy. I knew only the form of godliness, and did not believe there was any power. How blind I was!”
It was to be expected that one who so rejoiced in the light as Elizabeth, would let her light shine before others. From the day of her conversion she was known by all as a follower of Christ, and her course was marked by consistency. Often did she think her life spent in a sick chamber a useless one, but “Those also serve, who only stand and wait,” and no life that lives out the gospel can be useless. Confident recognition of God in daily life, calm trust in His care, unmurmuring submission, concern to do His will, lowliness and meekness, tenderness of conscience, carefulness not to break the law of charity, even in word or tone, deep concern for the salvation of others, and marked prayerfulness, all made her life a light. “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth,” Psalm 145:1818The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. (Psalm 145:18).