Great faith in the face of trouble

Dear Friends,

I’ve been reading the wonderful diary of a Christian man, Douglas Taylor (who died in 2014) as he recorded his journey. Here is a section worth reading – even as we pray on for sick people to be made well.

Healing in His Wings
I bless the Lord that I can truly say that he has healed my soul. The Sun of righteousness has indeed risen with healing in his wings (Mal 4:2) and, by sheer mercy, I have felt the warming and healing effect of those rays. He has not healed my body but he has never promised to do that in this life. I believe, however, that the day is coming in which, with all his people, I shall be perfectly well. The inhabitants of glory shall no more say, I am sick (Is 33:24).

I do have to take issue with those who raise unrealistic hopes in this regard. A typical charismatic statement of faith says “All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first century are available today, are vital for the mission of the church and are to be earnestly desired and practised”. All right, how about this gift: ‘They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover’ (Mark 16:18)? Who today has that gift? Their services must be in great demand in the hospitals and hospices of the world! I would even issue a gentle and sincerely meant challenge to those with this gift: “Come and lay hands on me. I have a hepatocellular carcinoma”. It would yield instantly to the healing hands of Christ, or to the hands of those with the gift spoken of in Scripture. But, in the meantime, my Saviour has healed my soul. With the beloved hymn-writer Charles Wesley I can feelingly testify:

Still the small inward voice I hear
That whispers all my sins forgiven
Still the atoning blood is near
That quenched the wrath of Hostile Heaven
I feel the life His wounds impart
I feel the Saviour in my heart.

And I would like to add this: This healing is infinitely better than mere healing of the body. Many of those whose bodies were healed by Christ and the apostles went away and lived and died in sin. Their souls were lost. But none of those whose souls who have been healed by Christ shall ever perish. None can pluck them out of the hands of Christ (John 10:28).

Oh brethren and sisters in the Lord, help me to bless the Lord! Let us exalt his name together. Let us unite in those things that matter most and that matter for eternity and let us not contend for those things which are at best dubious and at worst downright misleading.

Douglas Taylor also quotes from Samuel Rutherford who wrote in 1632.

“The stranger, in an uncouth country, must take with a smoky inn and coarse cheer, a hard bed, and a barking ill-tongued host. It is not long to the day and he will to his journey upon the morrow and leave them all. Indeed, our fair morning is at hand, the day-star is near the rising, and we are not many miles from home. What matters ill entertainment in the smoky inns of this miserable life? We are not to stay here and we will be dearly welcome to Him whom we go to. … and you shall then rejoice, and no man shall take your joy from you. … Then you shall see all His face and all the Saviour, …there is such a great supper preparing for us (at) evening!

Yours,
Simon Manchester