‘Tried ... found unto praise’
About five or six years ago, when staying in Birmingham for a short time I was asked by some Christian friends to go to Dudley in Worcestershire, to see Robert P., an invalid, who was also a Christian. I consented to do so, and shall never, I think, forget my visit.
It has been my lot, at times, to see much suffering in connection with the most painful diseases. I have seen poor bodies tortured and racked by pain and disease that neither pen nor tongue could describe. I have seen limbs distorted and certain organs destroyed or rendered useless in various poor patients by painful diseases. But I doubt if I ever saw (save perhaps in one other case) such an instance of accumulated sufferings of the most terrible kind in anyone, as I found in Robert P.
At the time of my visit he was 38 years of age, and had been ill for 10 years. He evidently had been a tall, fine man; but now he was in a most pitiable condition. He was bent down almost double, his face turned in toward his chest, with his chin pressing hard upon his breastbone, so that for two years, he had seen nothing but the light. His jaws were so locked that he could only take food the thickness of a penny, which had to be slipped in between his teeth. His limbs were not only deformed, but also completely useless to him. He could only move two fingers when I saw him; all the rest of his body was as immoveable as if it had been carved in wood.
Thankfully he still had his hearing and speech and he used these fully. He also had a heart completely at rest and fully satisfied – for he had Christ there – and he used his tongue to speak of the love and mercy of his gracious God who gave His Son for sinners, and of that blessed Lord Jesus Christ who had filled his soul with sunshine. Some time after I had seen him, he lost even his ability to see because of the ravages of the dire disease he was suffering from. So, physically, he was to sit in darkness, for the rest of his days on earth.
As well as this, the two fingers that he had been able to move before, became as rigid as the rest of his body. While he was in this state, and close to death, he asked a friend to write down the following lines for him.
Once I could see, but ne’er again shall I behold the verdant plain,
Jeweled with flowers of colours bright, bathed in a flood of golden light.
The birds, the brilliant butterflies, these all in thought before me rise;
The shining rivulet, whose song comes sweetly murmuring along;
The sky, the clouds, the grass, the trees, all waving, glancing in the breeze -
I see them pictured in my mind but there alone, for I am blind.
Blind, did I say? How can that be? Since I, by faith, my Saviour see
Exalted on the throne above, beaming with mercy, grace and love.
A view like this is better far than sun, or moon, or glittering star,
Or glowing landscape, sunny skies, or sight that’s fair to mortal eyes.
I thank my God that He has put a veil before mine eyes, and shut
All earthly objects from my sight, and Christ revealed in glory bright.
Henceforth my word shall ever be - once I was blind, but now I see.
Dear reader, little more needs to be said about Robert P. He knew he was loved of the Lord, and he has gone to be forever with Him. His faith was firmly placed in Christ - and his heart was totally satisfied by Him. And are you now unsaved? Then you are unsatisfied; your experience proves to you what the word of God declares in so many ways, that anything and everything else is not big enough to fill your heart. Are you conscious of your sin and need? Then the Lord Jesus, the Saviour whom God sent, is waiting to bless you, and satisfy your heart.