I Will Not Leave You Comfortless
To me it is a sweet thought that Christ has not left us alone in this dark wilderness here below. Although He has gone up on high, and taken His seat by the Father’s throne, He has not left us comfortless. The better translation is, “I will not leave you orphans.” He did not leave Joseph when they cast him into prison. “God was with him.” When Daniel was cast into the den of lions, they had to put the Almighty in with him. They were so bound together that they could not be separated, and so God went down into the den of lions with Daniel.
If we have Christ with us, we can do all things. Do not let us be thinking how weak we are. Let us lift up our eyes to Him, and think of Him as our Elder Brother, who has all power given to Him in Heaven and on Earth. He says: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Some of our children and friends leave us, and it is a very sad hour. But, thank God, the believer and Christ shall never be separated! He is with us here, and we shall be with Him in person by and by, and shall see Him in His beauty. But not only is He with us, but He has sent us the Holy Ghost. Let us honor the Holy Ghost by acknowledging that He is here in our midst. He has power to give sight to the blind, liberty to the captive, and to open the ears of the deaf that they may hear the glorious words of the Gospel.
Then there is another “I will” in John, sixth chapter, verse forty: it occurs four times in the chapter: “I will raise him up at the last day.”
I rejoice to think that I have a Saviour Who has power over death. My blessed Master holds the keys of death and hell. I pity the poor unbeliever and infidel. They have no hope in the resurrection; but every child of God can open that chapter and read the promise, and his heart ought to leap within him for joy as he reads it.
You know the tradesman generally puts the best specimens of his wares in the window to show us the quality of his stock. And so, when Christ was down here, He gave us a specimen of what He could do. He raised three from the dead, that we might know what power He had. There was (1) Jarius’ daughter, (2) the widow’s son, and (3) Lazarus of Bethany. He raised all three of them, so that every doubt might be swept away from our hearts.
How dark and gloomy this world would be if we had no hope in the resurrection; but now, when we lay our loved ones down in the grave, although it is in sorrow, it is not without hope. We have seen them pass away, we have seen them in the terrible struggle with death; but there has been one star to illumine the darkness and gloom—the thought that though the happy circle has been broken on Earth, it shall be completed again in yon world of heavenly light. You that have lost a loved one, rejoice as you read this “I will”! Those who have died in Christ shall come forth again by and by. The darkness shall flee away, and the morning light of the resurrection shall dawn upon us. It is only a little while, and He who has said it shall come, His voice shall be heard in the grave—“I will raise him up at the last day.” Precious promise! Precious I will!
I had an unsaved brother for whom I was very anxious. For fourteen long years I tried to lead that brother to “The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He was the Benjamin of the family, born a few weeks after my father’s death. When he was seventeen he had a long run of typhoid fever, and he never fully recovered from it.
I did everything I could to bring him to Christ. He was a young man of considerable promise. I know no one who could sit down and discuss against the divinity of Christ like that man. I was not any match for him in argument. Day by day I preached to him as best I knew how.
I think I never loved a man on Earth as I loved that brother. I never knew what it was to love a father, because he died before I remember. I loved my brother so much, perhaps, because he was sickly and that drew my love and sympathy towards him; and oh, how my heart yearned for his salvation!
After preaching one night, I said, “Now if any of this audience would like to take up his cross and follow Christ, I would like him to rise,” and I cannot tell you what a thrill of joy filled my soul when that brother of mine arose. It seemed the happiest night of my life. I was full of joy and thankfulness, and afterwards my brother and I worked together for a time, and talked of the Gospel, and in the summer we sat upon the hillside and talked of the old home.
After a year had passed, I went to Chicago, and he was to go with me. He bid me goodbye, and I said, “Well, Samuel, I will see you in a few days, and I will only say goodbye till then.”
A few days after, a telegram came saying, “Samuel is dead.” I had to travel a thousand miles to bury him, and I got more comfort out of that promise “I will raise him up at the last day,” than anything else in the Bible. How it cheered me! How it lighted up my path! And as I went into the room and looked upon the lovely face of that brother, how that passage ran through my soul: “Thy brother shall rise again.” I said, “Thank God for that promise.” It was worth more than the world to me.
When we laid him in the grave, it seemed as if I could hear the voice of Jesus Christ saying, “Thy brother shall rise again.” Blessed promise of the resurrection! Blessed “I will!” “I will raise him up at the last day.”
Now the next “I will” is in John seventeenth chapter, twenty-fourth verse: “Father I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.”
This was in His last prayer in the guest chamber, on the last night before He was crucified and died that terrible death on Calvary. Many a believer’s countenance begins to light up at the thought that he shall see the King in His beauty by and by. Yes; there is a glorious day before us in the future. Some think that on the first day we are converted, we have everything. To be sure, we get salvation for the past and peace for the present; but then there is the glory for the future in store. That’s what kept Paul rejoicing. He said, “These light afflictions, these few stripes, these few brick-bats and stones that they throw at me—why, the glory that is beyond excels them so much that I count them as nothing, nothing at all, so that I may win Christ.” And so, when things go against us, let us cheer up; let us remember that the night will soon pass away, and the morning dawn upon us. Death never comes there. It is banished from that heavenly land. Sickness, and pain, and sorrow, come not there to mar that grand and glorious home where we shall be by and by with the Master. God’s family will be all together there. Glorious future, my friends! Yes, glorious day! And it may be a great deal nearer than many of us think. During these few days we are here let us stand steadfast and firm, and by and by we shall be in the unbroken circle in yon world of light, and have the King in our midst.