Jul
01

Practicing the Presence – Pt. 16

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This post comes from the classic Christian devotional by Bro. Lawrence (Lawrence, Brother (Nicholas Herman, c. 1605-1691) who was a monk in the 1600’s. His simple but profound writings are an encouragement to believers today who desire to discover the presence of God in the midst of any chore, circumstance or crisis. It is truly gold for those desiring to live with a greater awareness of God’s presence in their lives. There are numerous postings from this work. You can view them all under the category, PRACTICING THE PRESENCE.

The material for the PRACTICING THE PRESENCE category was acquired from the (UTF-8) free text version through Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College, http://www.ccel.org  This site is a great resource for Classic public domain materials such as this.

ELEVENTH LETTER

To one who is in great pain. God is the Physician of body and of soul.
* Feels that he would gladly suffer at His wish.

I DO not pray that you may be delivered from your pains; but I pray GOD
earnestly that He would give you strength and patience to bear them as
long as He pleases. Comfort yourself with Him who holds you fastened to
the cross: He will loose you when He thinks fit. Happy those who suffer
with Him: accustom yourself to suffer in that manner, and seek from Him
the strength to endure as much, and as long, as He shall judge to be
necessary for you. The men of the world do not comprehend these truths,
nor is it to be wondered at, since they suffer like what they are, and
not like Christians: they consider sickness as a pain to nature, and
not as a favour from GOD; and seeing it only in that light, they find
nothing in it but grief and distress. But those who consider sickness
as coming from the hand of GOD, as the effects of His mercy, and the
means which He employs for their salvation, commonly find in it great
sweetness and sensible consolation.

I wish you could convince yourself that GOD is often (in some sense)
nearer to us and more effectually present with us, in sickness than in
health. Rely upon no other Physician, for, according to my
apprehension, He reserves your cure to Himself. Put then all your trust
in Him, and you will soon find the effects of it in your recovery,
which we often retard, by putting greater confidence in physic than in
GOD.

Whatever remedies you make use of, they will succeed only so far as He
permits. When pains come from GOD, He only can cure them. He often
sends diseases of the body, to cure those of the soul. Comfort yourself
with the sovereign Physician both of soul and body.

I foresee that you will tell me that I am very much at my ease, that I
eat and drink at the table of the LORD. YOU have reason: but think you
that it would be a small pain to the greatest criminal in the world, to
eat at the king’s table, and be served by him, and notwithstanding such
favours to be without assurance of pardon? I believe he would feel
exceeding great uneasiness, and such as nothing could moderate, but
only his trust in the goodness of his sovereign. So I assure you, that
whatever pleasures I taste at the table of my King, yet my sins, ever
present before my eyes, as well as the uncertainty of my pardon,
torment me, though in truth that torment itself is pleasing.

Be satisfied with the condition in which GOD places you: however happy
you may think me, I envy you. Pains and suffering would be a paradise
to me, while I should suffer with my GOD; and the greatest pleasure
would be hell to me, if I could relish them without Him; all my
consolation would be to suffer something for His sake.

I must, in a little time, go to GOD. What comforts me in this life is,
that I now see Him by faith; and I see Him in such a manner as might
make me say sometimes, I believe no more, but I see. I feel what faith
teaches us, and, in that assurance and that practice of faith, I will
live and die with Him.

Continue then always with GOD: ’tis the only support and comfort for
your affliction. I shall beseech Him to be with you. I present my
service.
 

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