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being saved or delivered from whatever evil it was that led the heart to seek God, to hope in Him, and to wait for Him. O my God, while I look to Thee for salvation through my Saviour's merits, so do I look to Thee also for deliverance from my present trouble. Thou knowest my state, Thou knowest my heart, my groaning is not hid from Thee. Help me to rest on Thy promises, and to receive the comfort of Thy Spirit, For that very deliverance of which I am now in need — from illness, pain, anxiety, trouble-give me grace to seek Thee, hope in Thee, and wait for Thee. And grant that I may find it good. May I find the seeking good, and the hoping good, and the waiting good! Then, when Thy time comes, and Thou dost send deliverance, oh, how good, how doubly good, will the deliverance be, that has been thus sought, hoped for, and waited for !
“Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He
saved them out of their distresses.”—Psalm cvii. 13.
BEFORE I was ill, I often visited a sick woman who was a great sufferer. She was almost always in pain, and sometimes in great agony; but one day I found her much easier and almost entirely free from pain. She was fuil of thankfulness. “Oh, it seems like heaven!” she said.
I was struck with her words; yet I could not then enter into them as I can now, for at that time I had not had much experience of pain. But now it is otherwise ; now I know what pain is, and even agony; for I have suffered greatly, and do still. But not always; God gives me intervals of ease. I have such au one now; I do not suffer to-day. The pain is gone for the time, and my nerves are quieted, and I lie at peace. This, I am sure,
, is in answer to prayer.
And now that poor woman's words come to my mind, “It seems like heaven.” So it does. The change is so unspeakably great and happy. O my God, I
O thank Thee. Thou hast heard me, and relieved me; the pain is gone because Thou hadst compassion on me, and didst send it away. Now I can think and pray; now I can lift up my heart to Thee with undistracted mind, and feed upon Thy word, and enjoy communion with Theè. Yes, it is 6 like heaven."
Ah, but it is not heaven. The pain will come back, for my disease is still upon me. I am not cured, though I am relieved: I know that well. And though I thankfully enjoy this interval, it is only an interval. Oh, what will it be to have no more pain, and no more dread of it! To be where there is no pain! To know that there never can be any ! “Neither shall there be any more pain.” No tears, no death, no sorrow, 'no pain! This
is what I read of in the blessed Word. This is what I look forward to through my Saviour and Redeemer.
But it is not yet. I must wait. It will come when it is my Father's will. Meanwhile, oh, let me be deeply thankful for what He sends me to-day. I cried to Him in my trouble, I begged Him to have pity upon me and relieve me; and He has granted my petition. I will not look forward, I will not spoil His gift of ease by dreading the return of pain. He has for the present saved me from my distress. Every hour of ease is an unspeakable blessing. He will give me as many of them as He sees fit to give. And if the pain should return, still He will not leave me to bear it alone. He will be with me, and He will still hear every cry of distress, and attend to every prayer, and pity me, and send me relief. My God will not forsake me.
But now let me make full use of this time of ease. My God, it is not heaven yet, but it is like heaven in its freedom from pain; and if I find Thee near, and enjoy Thy presence, then it will be yet more like heaven where Thou art. Help me by Thy Spirit ! Give me now Thy grace! Let me not merely lie back and enjoy this blessed ease of body; help me also to turn it to good account, drawing near to Thee, and giving Thee thanks, and holding communion with Thee.
That very psalm (taken with the one before it) brings me a warning. The children of Israel cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them; but then they forsook Him again; no sooner were they saved from distress than they forgot God their Saviour, and went astray. Again and again did this happen. “Many times did He deliver them; but they provoked Him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity." In their distress they sought Him, but when delivered they forgot Him. Lord, let me not be like them! Preserve me from backsliding in time of ease. May Thy pitying mercy draw me closer to Thee. Now that Thou hast relieved me, give me grace to cleave to Thee, and love Thee, and praise Thee. “The redeemed of the Lord” are spoken of in this psalm : were they different from the people