What a comfort it is to know that God thinks of us, and arranges all for us, though we fail to think of Him! There is not a day, not a moment, but God is thinking of us, and He is above all the plotting of Satan. He will take care of His people. Do they want food? He sends them manna. Guidance? There is the pillar going before them. Do they come to the Jordan? There is the ark there. Have they enemies in the land? There is Joshua to overcome for them. He deals with them in the way of discipline when they need it, as He did with Jacob. He humbled him, but gave him the blessing in the end. What a thought this ought to give us of the love of God, when we thus see His activity in goodness to us all the way through! What comfort to know He is for us, out of the spring and principle of His own love.
(J N Darby, Collected Writings vol.27, p.29
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I received your second letter a day earlier than the first, so that the news of the death of your dear wife reached me before the expression of your hope. What therefore is this world! Your loss is great, in truth, for your wife was good and excellent as wife and as mother; then as you say, three orphans so young left without a mother. In the same packet of letters, I received news of four deaths; all these departures are harsh sorrow for the families. What lessons we receive in this world! I understand, beloved brother, how much this event must be in every way sorrowful for you, but have good courage. Our God is never mistaken in His ways; not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him; how much more therefore does He take care of His children, whom He loves and cherishes, and His dear children, as He calls us. I do not doubt, dear brother, that the death of your dear wife will be ever more felt in the measure that you prove difficulties in the care that you have to give to your children. It is good to look all these things in the face, so that faith in God is exercised, and that we bring our difficulties to Him as well as our sorrows. Confide in His love; He will never fail you. It is a great exercise of faith, but He in whom we must have confidence is greater than all our difficulties, and His ever-faithful love can never fail. He makes all things work together for good to those who love Him. He severs us from this world in every way, to attach us to a world for which He has created us anew. This is only a passing place where Christ has been rejected; we pass through it and, being denied everything down here, we have nothing else to do but to work for Him and to glorify Him. The hand of God is always better than the hand of men, His apparent hardness better than the favour of this world; what directs it basically is always love. Love leads by a perfect wisdom which we will understand later. In the meantime, He has given His Son so that we can be sure that all is love. It is a world of sorrows, but where Christ has left His footsteps, indelible proofs for faith that love has come into this world of sorrow to take His part in grace in it. Look therefore to Jesus, dear brother; He takes part in all our afflictions, and be sure that the love of God will never leave you. Be troubled about nothing, and may God Himself direct you as to your dear children. I will be happy to receive your news.
I do not understand how your letters have been so delayed; it is true that I was the other side of the Mississippi.
I will not speak to you today about my Italian, for I am thinking of your affliction. I have always read my Bible in this language a little so as not to forget it.
God would desire to bless you and maintain in your soul an entire confidence in Him. As to Him, He is surely faithful: His ways are always perfect. Look to Him much and may your sorrowful exercises of heart be for you the means of a deeper communion and an ever more complete detachment from the world.
Your affectionate brother in Jesus
The work makes progress in the Western States. About ten meetings, great and small, are formed there.
Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013