Friday, August 9, 2013

Jesus Meets Soul-Thirsts

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

Is it really possible that God will keep in perfect peace those who trust in Him those who fix their thoughts on Him?  Bad things happen to good people and when they do.  Look out! Katy bar the door.  All sorts of feelings fly.  Attitudes erupt.  Anger makes an entrance.  Blame becomes a well played game.  Peace however seems to be far away.  Even for those who have been attending church the peace seems only a distant thought.  But we are told God will do more.  For those who trust Him.  For those whose thoughts are fixed on Him something incredible happens.  Even in the darkest of times God gives perfect peace. 

This was true for Hudson Taylor, missionary to China in the 1800s.  While introducing the true God to the Chinese in the inland parts of China he faced a number of dark nights.  There were riots and life threatening situations for the missionaries as they tried to make Jesus known in this unstable and dangerous country.  For the Taylors one of their seven children had died by the summer of 1870.  The five year old was in need of medical attention and they decided to send little Samuel along with the four older children back to England.  As they traveled by boat down the Yangtze River toward the coast Samuel weakened and died.  He was buried at a cemetery along the way and the mourning family continued the journey.  The Taylors entrusted the precious cargo to a long-time friend and saw them off.  Pain and sorrow they had suffered.  They returned to the mission to continue the work. 

During this time Hudson Taylor wrote a letter expressing the joy, the love of God he experienced. 

And now, my dear Sister, I have the very passage for you, and God has so blessed it to my own soul ! John 7: 37-39 " If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." Who does not thirst? Who has not mind-thirsts or heart-thirsts, soul-thirsts or body-thirsts? Well, no matter which, or whether I have them all-" Come unto ME and "remain thirsty? Ah, no! "Come unto ME and drink."

What, can Jesus meet my need? Yes, and more than meet it. No matter how intricate my path, how difficult my service no matter how sad my bereavement, how far away my loved ones, no matter how helpless I am, how hopeless I am, how deep are my soul-yearnings-JESUS can meet all, all, and more than meet. He not only promises me rest (Matt.11:28-30)-ah, how welcome that would be were it all, and what an all that one word embraces! He not only promises me drink to alleviate my thirst. No, better than that!

“He who trusts me in this matter (who believeth on ME takes me at my word) out of him shall flow ..."
Can it be. so? Can the dry and thirsty one not only be refreshed, the parched soil moistened, the arid places cooled, but the land be so saturated, that springs well up, streams flow down from it ? Even so! And not mere mountain torrents, full while the rains last, then dry again . . . but "out of his belly shall flow rivers "-rivers like the mighty Yangtze, ever deep, ever full. In times of drought brooks may fail, often do; canals may be pumped dry, often are; but the Yangtze never. Always a mighty stream; always flowing, deep and irresistible!

"Come unto me and drink,' he wrote in another June letter. “Not, come and take a hasty draught; not, come and slightly alleviate, or for a short time remove one's thirst. No! ` Drink,' or 'be drinking ' constantly, habitually. The cause of thirst may be irremediable. One coming, one drinking may refresh and comfort; but we are to be ever coming, ever drinking. No fear of emptying the fountain or exhausting the river! "
How sorely the lesson would be needed by his own heart, in days that were drawing near, he little knew when writing; but the blessed Reality did not fail him.
-Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

Mrs. Taylor delivered another son within a month, but the joy of birth was met by the sadness of death within a week as cholera sat upon him.  A short while later the weakened mother at 33 entered into the presence of the Lord. 

A letter written to Mrs. Blatchley after these things describes Hudson Taylor’s state:

Nearly three weeks have passed since my last letter to you a little lifetime it has been. . . . I cannot describe to you my feelings; I do not understand them myself. I feel like a person stunned with a blow, or recovering from a faint, and as yet but partially conscious, But I would not have it otherwise, no, not a hair's breadth, for the world. My Father has ordered it so-therefore I know it is, it must be best, and I thank Him for so ordering it. I feel utterly crushed, and yet “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Oft-times my heart is nigh to breaking . . . but withal, I had almost said, I never knew what peace and happiness were before-so much have I enjoyed in the very sorrow... .

I think I sent you a few weeks ago a copy of some notes on John 7: 37: precious thoughts they have been to me, and needed and true. I now see more and deeper meaning in them than then. And this I -know: only a thirsty man knows the value of water, and only a thirsty soul the value of the Living Water.

I could not have believed it possible that He could so have helped and comforted my poor heart…
Come joy or come sorrow, whatever befall,
His presence and love (more than) make up for it all.
-Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

God does indeed give peace…His peace…not like the world…not just a break on trouble, but the real deal.  Deep down inside and saturating ever fiber of being kind of peace.  Perfect peace.  It is up to us to trust in Him and to make sure our thoughts are not wandering or set on the problems of the day, but fixed on Him. Then even in the darkest of times God gives perfect peace.