Coping With Trials
Dear Sister in the Lord,
Your good letter, breathing so much of the spirit of the Master, was received nearly a week ago. And as I take this early opportunity to reply to same, would ask the dear Father in heaven to assist me in saying the very things that you most need, and that will be most thoroughly to his glory.
I greatly rejoice with you, dear Sister, in the many evidences your letter gives, that you have learned so thoroughly the lesson of submission to the divine will. There are so many, even among the children of God, who will admit that the Lord can run the universe, or inspire a Bible, or hang the sun, moon, and staris in their places, or design a perfect body infinitely better than they ever could; but somehow they entertain the thought that they could have laid out their own experiences so much better than the Lord can. They might not put it in just such language, but that is what it amounts to.
People are so ready to criticize the work of the Almighty. The scientist tells us how the human body could get along without this organ or that one. The Theologian thinks we do not need the book of Jonah in the Bible, that the Word of God would have been better without it. And the Christian believes that we did not require this painful experience or that trying ordeal.
In each of these cases it is a manifestation of the same thing; a lack of confidence in the wisdom of the Lord. However, we can readily understand why the scientist or unenlightened theologian does not have the necessary faith or confidence in God, but it does seem hard to understand why the consecrated Christian cannot believe "that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to us purpose."
So I was made gald to note that the Lords grace had enabled you to reach the place where even your afflictions cannot muffle the psalm of praise which ascends from your heart to the Fathers throne, and I trust you may ever be found of him in the attitude where you can say, "Thy will be done," as cheerfully when it means some loss as when it means added comfort. If Job, away back in his day, with so much less light than we, without having been begotten of the holy spirit, could show so much of the spirit of submission to the will of God, then how beautifully it should be manifest in our life.
If we could constantly remember that the most important thing today is not how great a number can be reached by the gospel, nor how much ease and comfort we can get, nor even how much influence we can have; but how can we bear the largest amount of the fruits of the spirit. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit" (John 15:8). "But the fruit of the spirit is love . . ." (Gal. 5:22, 23). So if we are living in harmony with this scripture we will be glad to welcome any experiences, no matter how bitter they be, that will help us to bear that fruit.
But one may ask; I am bearing that fruit, then why does the Lord allow me to have so much trouble. "Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it [prunes it and cuts it], that it may bring forth more fruit" (John 15:2). Ah, how well that agrees with the sentiments of our hearts; we are not satisfied to bear a little fruit, but we want to bring forth more fruit, and then more fruit, and even then we want to increase in fruit bearing. So, dear Sister, my prayer is that the dear Lord will continue to give you the experiences that will help you to develop more fruit, and as you look into your heart may it bring you rejoicing as you discern an increase there of fruitfulness.
With Christian love to you and all the dear friends. I hope to ever be, an humble Servant of the King of Kings.
Note: The above letter was written to an unknown sister in Christ in the early years of this century and is republished in the hope that it may be as much a help today as it was to this anonymous sister so many years ago. This letter is found in the republished works of Benjamin Barton entitled "Pilgrim Echoes." Information on this book's availability can be obtained directly from the publishers by e-mail to email@example.com