(From the book ‘A Basket of Summer Fruit‘ by Susannah Spurgeon)
“He came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.” Mark 1:31
“Blessed Lord Jesus, very many of Your poor, despondent, downcast children are at this moment holding out their fevered hands to You, that Your Divine and gracious act, here recorded, may be repeated in their experience! Your compassions were not exhausted on this case. Your sympathy did not expend itself in this one effort of love. You are able and willing now, as then, to work Your miracles of grace and healing on mind as well as body. Oh, that we could bless You as we ought for Your unfailing mercy!”
The depths of despondency and darkness, to which a soul may descend even while Your everlasting arms are underneath it—are known only to You. It may be forced to cry out, with Jonah, “The depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.” A sense of desertion may even be permitted to oppress the spirit, and Satan will not miss this opportunity to vex and harass the tried believer. But You, O compassionate Redeemer, will never forsake a trembling one whose only hope is in You! Blessed be Your Name, there are no depths deep enough to “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
How often has it been with me as it was with the poor woman of whom it was written, “She could by no means lift up herself;” and is not this true of you also, dear reader? The struggle has been long and wearisome—the result unsuccessful and disappointing. No human power, from without or from within, can raise a prostrate soul out of the “miry clay” into which unbelief has dragged it. Our own exertions are of no avail; nay, they do but sink us more deeply than before, and weaken us to no purpose.
But Your hand, precious Savior, can work prompt deliverance; it takes You but an instant to accomplish that which has baffled all our best efforts. It needs a mighty leverage to raise so dead a weight as a heavy heart—but in Your wounded hand there lies hidden the power (Habak. 3:4) which created all things, and which the love of Your heart places freely at the service of a helpless sinner. Touched by the strength of its sweet uplifting—what a gracious change comes over my heart and life! No longer bowed down by a sense of guilt and helplessness—no longer the miserable target for Satan’s innuendoes and accusations—no longer weak, and doubting, and downcast—that touch has wrought a miracle of grace in me. Not only am I restored, but I can rise and “minister unto others.”
Ah! thank God that the joy of uplifting, compensates so richly for the sorrow of a season of discouragement. The Valley of Humiliation is not always a barren place; God’s “forget-me-nots” are growing there, and are always to be found by those who know how to search for them; and the purple tassels of the Amarantus (“love-lies-bleeding”) flourish abundantly in its shady groves. Do not let us dread any sorrow which the Lord may bring upon us; it is only when, by our own sin or willfulness, we fall into grief, that we need fear the consequences; for when our Lord casts us down, or lifts us up, both experiences are blessings—the one in grim disguise, the other in all the brightness of revealed love and pity.
What a distrustful heart must mine be, dear Lord, when, after so much mercy in the past, I dare for a moment to doubt the loving purpose of Your present dispensations! As I think of the unequaled union of love and power which meet in the person of my Divine Redeemer, I am indeed ashamed of the unbelief which so often steals away my joys.
It is the beginning of a glad uplifting when we realize that there is nothing impossible to our God, and that, however low we may be brought, His saving love is more than equal to the task of reaching and restoring us.
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“He took her by the hand.”
Do but imagine the thrill of returning health and joy which swept through that poor woman’s frame when the cool, calm hand of the Savior was laid on her fevered and trembling fingers. “She arose, and ministered unto them.” What a glad alacrity do these simple words express! Her heart would at once show its gratitude by service; and we can well believe that the hands, so recently touched by the Lord Jesus, would have acquired a skill and tenderness hitherto unknown or undeveloped.
There was a healed and happy woman in Capernaum that day; and the same Lord still waits to be gracious to you, dear reader, and to me. O downcast soul, be no longer faithless and distressed! One stands beside you, who knows all your faintness and feebleness; and presently He will “make all His goodness pass before You,” will lift you up, put strength into you, and so graciously deliver you, that you shall praise and glorify His dear Name “while life and breath remain.”
“The Lord brings low—and lifts up.”