Sources of Joy

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
My Very Dear Sisters,—I have been much touched by your kindness in reminding me of your christian affection. It seems to me, in fact, incredible that four months have rolled away since I wrote to Lausanne. It is true that I have not replied to M. G. since the month of November, that is to say, I have a letter from him of that date, to which I have not replied. But the time passes so quickly that I do not doubt it, for in fact I have been very desirous myself for news of you, though there has been such a considerable lapse of time. However, I have a confidence in God that keeps me in peace, even when long silence gives me the desire to have news of the brethren. As for my health, to dispose of it as quickly as possible, the Lord gives me the strength that seems good to Him; more than that would not be well. The troubles of this year have worn me a little; moreover, one is worn year by year if it pleases God, though His longsuffering is still salvation; may the time roll on still more quickly—my desires are fixed on the land of rest, this precious rest of God. My heart opens yet more to the thought of the glory, and of the rest that Christ is preparing for us, and I sigh for the moment, and with all my heart; my heart and my joy are there. The circumstances I have had to pass through, I believe have made my soul more ripe, at least, I hope so, for the joys that are with Christ, have bound me more and more sensibly to Him, and to all that has to do with Him—that is found in Him. All this (though I am very feeble) is better known to me, more felt. I am more cut off, more for Him; it is not that I am deceived as if the flesh and the conflict were no longer for me. I know well it is not so. But my life is more hidden with Christ in God. As to my spirit, my abode is more there, and it is worth while, dear friends. However, I am a poor, miserable, sorry creature. I know it well. But in the measure in which I accompany soul after soul to the gate of heaven, I begin to think that it is almost time I should go in there. I wait. I belong to Him, who has truly the right to dispose of me and of all these things. Till then I work as a hireling that accomplishes his day, and alas, I am but a very bad workman, not worthy to be called such—still, happy to be one.
You must not think, dear sisters, that the circumstances have discouraged or depressed me before God. They have been painful, but not more so than I expected when I left Lausanne, in many respects less. I believe that more faith, less regard for the feelings of the brethren, would have greatly shortened my work. But I trust that He who searches the hearts will find there at least the intention of charity. I warned them of it when I was here three years ago. But God does His work, and I never more felt His faithfulness, and His great goodness. Never has my faith been more encouraged. Never have I felt more sensibly that God was acting, and that I could count on Him. In looking back, I am struck with all His grace. The sifting is severe, but it is a sifting of love. Since I acted decidedly, my peace and my joy are very great, as well as of all those who have done the same. Consciences have need, as well as the heart of the spiritual man has need, to be awakened; and that has been done. Never have I enjoyed so much communion in worship, and of the presence of God. Oh, how true it is that our Rock is faithful, and that He is near to us, to those who call upon Him with faith.
As to the desire, dear sisters, that you express to see me again, I bless God for it. I need not tell you that I share it; it is what the Holy Spirit always produces. However, I think only of owning how God has been with you, and how He has blessed you. Think what a comfort for me to know that God was keeping you faithful to Him, and in patience, whilst I was being tried here. I hope truly that it will have been a moment much blessed for you all, and that you have learned to lean more than ever upon His faithfulness. I have the thought of making a run to the south of France, if God permit, this year, spring or autumn. I do not propose anything definitely for Switzerland, not knowing what will be the state of things, or if christian work will not be impossible, or that my presence will but stir up for you the unpleasantness, but I leave all this to the future that God will show us. It seems that God would that the waves should be calmed a little. I await His will. My affections are as strong as ever for Switzerland, at least, for the work of God in that dear country. I write in haste. For the rest, it is for my brethren down here in great measure that I dispose of the few moments that are at my disposal in a work that I pursue for them; it is this that has hindered me greatly from writing. Peace be to you in all things, dear sisters. You will have received news that crossed your letters. I would write to some of the sisters in particular, according to the time I should have for that. They must pardon me, if this is a little delayed, and receive for yourselves, dear sisters, my many thanks for having thought of your poor brother, and in commending you with all my heart to Him and His grace, the assurance of my cordial affection in Him, and may the hope of glory be very present to you and refresh you.
Your very affectionate brother.
22nd, 1846.