“I think the Lord has seen fit to visit you with much … [illness] of late; I say He has seen fit, for all our trials are under His immediate direction, and we are never in heaviness without a need-be.”
Hymn writer and pastor John Newton shared that consolation in a letter to an ailing friend in 1768.
One of the things that encourages me most about John Newton’s letters is his confidence that the Lord is the one who orchestrates life’s events – even illness. I find great comfort in that.
The man who brought us Amazing Grace and Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken went on to write:
“How happy is the state of a believer, to have a sure promise that all shall work together for good in the end, and in the meantime a sure refuge where to find present relief, support, and protection!
I trust He does and will give you strength equal to your day, and sweeten what would be otherwise bitter with the essence of His precious love. I hope soon to hear that you are restored to health, and that you have found cause to praise Him for the rod.
How … [comforting] is it, when trouble is near, to know that the Lord is near likewise, and to commit ourselves and all our cares simply to Him, believing that His eye is upon us, and His ear open to our prayers.
Under the conduct of such a Shepherd we need not fear: though we are called to pass through fire and water, through the valley of the shadow of death, He will be with us, and will shew Himself mighty on our behalf.”
You can read the entire letter here.