Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Trust Our Kind Heavenly Father"

In the spring of 1859, Mary Anna Jackson became very ill and her husband, Stonewall Jackson, determined to send her to New York in order to get her the best medical care. While she was there, Jackson returned to Lexington, VA and wrote her often. In a letter dated May 7, 1859, he sought to encourage her faith in the midst of her medical trial:
You must not be discouraged at the slowness of recovery. Look up to Him who giveth liberally for faith to be resigned to His divine will, and trust Him for that measure of health which will most glorify Him and advance to the greatest extent your own real happiness. We are sometimes suffered to be in a state of perplexity, that our faith may be tried and grow stronger. 'All things work together for good' to God's children. See if you cannot spend a short time after dark in looking out of your window into space, and meditating upon heaven, with all its joys unspeakable and full of glory; and think of what the Saviour relinquished in glory when he came to earth, and of his sufferings for us; and seek to realize with the apostle, that the afflictions of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Try to look p and be cheerful, and not desponding. Trust our kind Heavenly Father, and by the eye of faith see that all things with you are right and for your best interest. The clouds come, pass over us, and are followed by bright sunshine; so, in God's moral dealings with us, he permits us to have trouble awhile. But let us, even in the most trying dispensations of His providence, be cheered by the brightness which is a little ahead. Try to live near to Jesus, and secure that peace which flows like a river. You have your husband's prayers, sympathy, and love. . . . I trust that our Heavenly Father is restoring my darling to health, and that when she gets home, she will again be its sunshine.
It is interesting to see how Jackson calls his wife to understand her sufferings in conjunction to the sufferings of Christ and to look to heaven with the eyes of faith for encouragement. Humiliation leading to exaltation . . . the gospel being the ground of our hope in times of trial . . . finding one's earthly life shaped by the heavenly life to come . . . Jackson would have made a fine redemptive-historical preacher!

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