Section 3—Letters to Physicians8T 123″To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.” Philippians 3:1. 8T 123 – 8t 123.null.null
Chapter 21—The Value of Trial8T 123En Route to Copenhagen,
July 16, 1886
To the Medical Superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium
My Dear Brother,
I have the most tender love for you, and I would that those who are pursuing you with reproach would let you alone. But, my brother, you must remember that these perplexities and annoyances are included in the “all things” that work together for good to those who love God. The Lord’s eye is upon you, and He beholds those who would misrepresent you and tear you to pieces. But if you will be of good courage, if you will stay your soul upon God, if you will trust your heavenly Father as a child trusts its parent, if you will deal justly and love mercy, God can and will work with you. His promise is sure: “Them that honor Me I will honor.” 1 Samuel 2:30.
Remember that your experience is not the first of the kind. You know the history of Joseph and of Daniel. The Lord did not prevent the plottings of wicked men; but He caused their devices to work for good to those who, amidst trial and conflict, preserved their faith and loyalty.
The furnace fires are not to destroy, but to refine, ennoble, sanctify. Without trial we should not feel so much our need of God and His help; and we should become proud and self-sufficient. In the trials that come to you I see evidence that the Lord’s eye is upon you and that He means to draw you to Himself. It is not the whole, but the wounded, who need a physician; it is those who are pressed almost beyond the point of endurance who need a helper.
Turn to the stronghold. Learn the precious lesson: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
Jesus loves you, and I am made glad as I read of the experience through which you are passing, not because you are a sufferer, but because this is an evidence to me that the Lord Jesus is testing and proving you, to see if you will come to Him, to see if you will put your trust in Him and find peace and rest in His love. I am praying for you, that you may come to Him, the Fountain of living water. This is the experience that every one of us must have if we ever dwell with Christ in the mansions that He has gone to prepare for us. You have lessons of the highest value to learn in the school of Christ, lessons that will lead you to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
It is when you are prospered, when all men speak well of you, that you are in danger. Be on your guard, for you will be tried. My greatest fear for you has been that you would have too great prosperity, and that you would fail to learn that your dependence is alone upon God. You have been placed in a position of great trust and honor, and there has been danger of your becoming dizzy and forgetting your dependence upon God. You have been placed where you can exert a far-reaching influence for good if you keep your eye single to the glory of God. Your heavenly Father loves you, and He will draw you to Himself by the trials that seem to you severe.
I have a most earnest desire that you shall enter the city of God, not as a culprit barely pardoned, but as a conqueror. My brother, will you think of this? If you are true and humble and faithful in this life, you will be given an abundant entrance. Then the tree of life will be yours, for you will be a victor over sin; the city whose builder and maker is God will be your city. Let your imagination take hold upon things unseen. Let your thoughts be carried away to the evidences of the great love of God for you.
In contemplating the object of which you are in pursuit, you will lose the sense of pain brought by the light afflictions that are but for a moment 8T 123 – 8T 125.1
July 17, 1886
Paul was a man who knew what it means to be a partaker of Christ’s sufferings. You have no need that I repeat the history of his trials. His life was one of constant activity, notwithstanding he was subject to many infirmities. He was continually followed by the hatred and malice of the Jews. They were exceedingly bitter against him and did all in their power to hinder him in his work. Yet we hear his voice sounding down along the line of our time: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18; Romans 8:18. None too highly does Paul estimate the privileges and advantages of the Christian life. I speak with no hesitancy about this matter, for I know for myself that what he says is true. 8t 125.null.null – 8T 125.2
Resting in God’s Love
Paul says further: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Verses 14, 15. One of the lessons that we are to learn in the school of Christ is that the Lord’s love for us is far greater than that of our earthly parents. We are to have unquestioning faith and perfect confidence in Him. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Verses 16, 17.
May the Lord help you, as a diligent student in the school of Christ, to learn to lay your burdens on Jesus. And if you are free in His love, you will look above and away from these annoying trials. Think of what Jesus has endured for you, and never forget that it is part of the legacy that we have received as Christians, to be partakers with Him of His sufferings, that we may be partakers with Him of His glory 8T 126.1 – 8T 126.2
Study Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as recorded in the fourth chapter of Daniel. The king saw a lofty tree planted in the earth. Flocks and herds from the mountains and hills enjoyed its shelter, and the birds of the air built their nests in its branches. Thus were represented Nebuchadnezzar’s greatness and prosperity. Nations were gathered under his sovereignty. His kingdom was firmly established in the hearts of his loyal subjects.
The king saw his prosperity, and because of it he was lifted up. Notwithstanding the warnings that God had given him, he did the very things which the Lord had told him not to do. He looked upon his kingdom with pride and exclaimed: “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30. The instant that the words were uttered, the sentence of judgment was pronounced. The king’s reason was taken away. The judgment that he had thought so perfect, the wisdom that he had prided himself on possessing, were removed. The jewel of the mind, that which elevates man above the beasts, he no longer retained.
The scepter is no longer held in the hand of a proud and powerful monarch. The mighty ruler is a maniac. He now herds with the cattle to eat as they eat. He is a companion of the beasts of the field. The brow that once wore a coronet is disfigured by the absence of reason and intellect. The mandate has gone forth: “Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit.” Verse 14.
So the Lord magnifies Himself as the true and living God. Well might David exclaim: “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” Psalm 37:35, 36. Let men become lifted up in pride, and the Lord will not sustain them and keep them from falling. Let a church become proud and boastful, not depending on God, not exalting His power, and that church will surely be left by the Lord, to be brought down to the ground. Let a people glory in wealth, intellect, knowledge, or in anything but Christ, and they will soon be brought to confusion 8T 126.3 – 8T 127.2
Our Burden Bearer
My brother, remember that this earth is not heaven. Christ has declared: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” John 16:33; Matthew 5:10-12.
Jesus has not left you to be amazed at the trials and difficulties you meet. He has told you all about them, and He has told you also not to be cast down and oppressed when trials come. Look to Jesus, your Redeemer, and be cheerful and rejoice. The trials hardest to bear are those that come from our brethren, our own familiar friends; but even these trials may be borne with patience. Jesus is not lying in Joseph’s new tomb. He has risen and has ascended to heaven, there to intercede in our behalf. We have a Saviour who so loved us that He died for us, that through Him we might have hope and strength and courage, and a place with Him upon His throne. He is able and willing to help you whenever you call upon Him.
If you try to carry your burdens alone you will be crushed under them. You have heavy responsibilities. Jesus knows about them, and He will not leave you alone if you do not leave Him. He is honored when you commit the keeping of your soul to Him as unto a faithful Creator. He bids you hope in His mercy, believing that He does not desire you to carry these weighty responsibilities in your own strength. Only believe, and you will see the salvation of God.
Do you feel your insufficiency for the position of trust that you occupy? Thank God for this. The more you feel your weakness, the more you will be inclined to seek for a helper. “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” James 4:8. Jesus wants you to be happy, to be cheerful. He wants you to do your best with the ability that God has given you and then trust the Lord to help you and to raise up those who will be your helpers in carrying burdens.
Let not the unkind speeches of men hurt you. Did not men say unkind things about Jesus? You err, and may sometimes give occasion for unkind remarks; but Jesus never did. He was pure, spotless, undefiled. Do not expect a better portion in this life than the Prince of glory had. When your enemies see that they can make you feel hurt, they will rejoice, and Satan will rejoice. Look to Jesus, and work with an eye single to His glory. Keep your heart in the love of God 8T 127.3 – 8T 129.1
It may be that even the members of the church to which you belong will say and do that which will grieve you. But move right on, calm and peaceful, ever trusting in Jesus, remembering that you are not your own, that you are Christ’s property, the purchase of the blood of God’s beloved Son, and that you are engaged in His work, seeking to bless humanity. This is a great work. Do not let the perversity of men move you from firm trust and abiding faith in the promises of God.
It hurts you when one for whom you have done much becomes your enemy, having been brought under an influence opposed to you. But do you not do almost the same thing to Jesus when you turn away from Him? He has been your best friend. He has done everything He could to win your love. He has invited your confidence. He has asked you to come to Him with all your burdens and all your griefs, and has pledged His word to give you rest and peace if you will wear His yoke and bear His burdens. He declares that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Show that you believe this. Take God at His word. You never could have stood where you now stand, bearing the responsibilities that you have borne, unless Jesus had given you special help. Acknowledge this. Praise God for the help that He has been to you, and trust Him still.
Bring Christ into your life. Do not feel that you are answerable for the wrong course of others, even though they are in the church. There are in the church unfaithful ones who treat Jesus far worse than they treat you. Were He on earth, they would insult Him, revile Him, defame Him. “It must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:7, 6.
You are carrying a heavy load. I wish that everyone could feel this as I do. I wish that all your brethren would be true and faithful to you, not hindering you, not extolling or glorifying you, but looking upon you as one whom God is using as His instrument to do a given work, and remembering that they must not block the wheels, but must put their shoulder to the wheel, helping instead of hindering 8T 129.2 – 8T 130.1
Again I say: Rejoice in the Lord. Rest in Him. You need His power, and this power you may have. Go forward firmly, valiantly, courageously. You may err in judgment, but do not lose your hold on Jesus. He is wisdom, He is light, He is power. He is to you as a great Rock in a weary land. Rest under His shadow. You need wisdom, and Jesus will give it to you. Do not be unbelieving. The more you are jostled, misapprehended, misstated, misrepresented, the more evidence you have that you are doing a work for the Master, and the more closely you must cling to your Saviour. In all your difficulties be calm and undisturbed, patient and forbearing, not rendering evil for evil, but good for evil. Look to the top of the ladder. God is above it. His glory shines on every soul ascending heavenward. Jesus is this ladder. Climb up by Him, cling to Him, and erelong you will step off the ladder into His everlasting kingdom.
I want you to have heaven. I know of no one who would appreciate heaven more than you, who have worked so untiringly to relieve suffering humanity, depriving yourself of sleep, neglecting to take food, bringing but little enjoyment into your life. At times there does not seem to be much sunshine in your path, only one long, continuous shadow. The afflictions you see, the dependent mortals looking and longing for help, your contact with depraved, corrupted human beings—this experience is of a character to undermine your faith in humanity.
You must, indeed, look to Jesus, keeping your eyes fixed on the glory at the top of the ladder. Through Christ alone can you make sure of heaven, where all is purity, holiness, peace, and blessedness, where there are glories that mortal lips cannot describe. The nearest we can come to a description of the reward that awaits the overcomer is to say that it is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It will be an eternity of bliss, a blessed eternity, unfolding new glories throughout the ceaseless ages.
You must be there. Whatever you lose here, be determined to make sure of eternal life. Never become discouraged. Many times I have seen that the everlasting arms were round about you, when you did not seem to realize or appreciate the great condescension of heaven. Live for Jesus. You can work better as a physician in the sanitarium if you make Christ your physician in chief. Seek earnestly for the crown of life. Make a business of serving God. It will pay, not only in this life, but in the life to come. I feel as deep an interest in you and your wife, whom I love in the Lord, as I do in my own sons and their wives. I want you and your wife to be among the redeemed, to act a part in the coronation of Christ. I greatly desire that you shall come off more than conqueror through Him who gave His life for you. For this reason, my brother, I have spoken plainly to you. I am so desirous that you should have an eternity of bliss. Your position has been most trying. I have feared that you would lose faith and courage. You must grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. You must draw close to your brethren. Whatever may come, do not lose faith in them or in Christ; and hold fast to the truth.
Extract from a letter written in 1892 from Adelaide, South Australia .—My brother, you will meet with trials, but hold fast your integrity. Never show anything but a noble spirit. The heavenly universe is watching the conflict. Satan is watching, anxious to catch you off your guard, anxious to see you acting impetuously, that he may obtain the advantage over you. Fight manfully the battle of the Lord. Do just as Christ would do were He in your place. Let there be no inconsistency in your faith or practice. Do not allow yourself to become wrought up over the vexatious troubles that are constantly arising. Keep calm, think of Jesus, and do what you can to please Him. The grace of Christ and the Holy Spirit are God’s gifts to you, that you may be strengthened with all might in the inner man 8T 130.2 – 8T 132.1