Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4.
We often hear the life of Christians described as being filled with trials, sadness, and sorrow, with but little to cheer and comfort; and the impression is too often given that if they should give up their faith and their efforts for eternal life, the scene would be changed to pleasure and happiness. But I have been led to compare the life of the sinner with the life of the righteous. Sinners do not have a desire to please God, therefore can have no pleasing sense of His approval. They do not enjoy their state of sin and worldly pleasure without trouble. They feel deeply the ills of this mortal life. Oh yes, at times they are fearfully troubled. They fear God but do not love Him.
Are sinners free from disappointment, perplexity, earthly losses, poverty, and distress? Oh, no! In this respect they are no more secure than the righteous. They often suffer lingering sicknesses, yet have no strong and mighty arm to lean upon, no strengthening grace from a higher power to support them. In their weakness they must lean upon their own strength. They cannot look forward with any pleasure to the resurrection morn, for they have no cheering hope that they will then have part with the blest. They obtain no consolation by looking forward to the future. A fearful uncertainty torments them, and thus they close their eyes in death. This is the end of poor sinners’ lives of vain pleasures.
Christians are subject to sickness, disappointment, poverty, reproach, and distress. Yet amid all this they love God, and love to do His will, and prize nothing so highly as His approval. In the conflicts, trials, and changing scenes of this life, they know that there is One who understands it all; One who will bend His ear low to the cries of the sorrowful and distressed; One who can sympathize with every sorrow and soothe the keenest anguish of every heart. He has invited the sorrowing ones to come to Him and find rest. Amid all their affliction Christians have strong consolation, and if they suffer a lingering, distressing sickness, before they close their eyes in death, they can with cheerfulness bear it all, for they hold communion with their Redeemer.—The Review and Herald, April 28, 1859.