A Personal Letter to a Saint at Marah

A large tree
By: W.T.

Friend in the Lord: So, you have come to Marah and found the waters there bitter. You had learned already that the world was nothing but a wilderness—a dry and thirsty land, with a “mighty famine,” and “no water.” But it seemed as if the Lord was leading you beside some desert stream, and you longed more than ever to drink. As you followed the pillar of cloud, it shined before you and, I trust, awakened gratitude to Him who “turneth the wilderness into a standing water.” But now you taste its waters and find them bitter; you cannot drink of them, and you cry unto the Lord. Moses did so in Exodus 15:25, and allow me to remind you how the Lord answered his cry: “The Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.” He did not create some new thing for the occasion, meeting the new difficulty by some new show of miraculous power; but He directed the eye of Moses to something there already, on the banks of the very waters of Marah, that was able to make the bitter water sweet.

Now my fellow pilgrim, what do you ask the Lord to do for you in this new trial? To create some new thing on earth to meet your case? To bring back the loved object He has bereaved you of, or to remove at once in some other way the heavy trial that burdens your spirit and weighs you down? Is this His way? For, “the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm” (Nahum 1:3). No, I will ask the Lord for you, that if they be bitter waters to which He leads you, He will show you the Blessed One, our Lord Jesus, whose presence in love and sympathy can sweeten every bitter cup and bring light to the dark bed of death. No new Savior, but “Him that is from the beginning,” the same today as He was yesterday and will be forever. No new thing came down from heaven or grew up from the earth to sweeten Marah’s waters for the thirsty wanderers in the wilderness. Instead, the Lord showed Moses a tree there before the waters were tasted. Similarly, the Holy Spirit, who is with you and in you, may take the things of the Lord Jesus and show them to you (John 16:14,15), leading you to see and enjoy what He is to you.

Remember, the Lord has been guiding you through the wilderness for many years. If He guides you now to Marah, He has gone before you there and planted a sweetening tree within easy reach. Please, reader, do not then be looking for some new token or revelation from the Lord but that He may, by His Spirit, show you more of Him who is with you always, even unto the end.

W.T., Extracted and Adapted from Christian Truth for the Household of Faith (Vol. 7, No. 2).

Contributed by K.G.

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