Christ, Our Loving Comforter and Restorer
A talk by Mrs. Ellen G. White given at the St. Helena Sanitarium (now the St. Helena Hospital), March 27, 1901.
I am thankful to the Lord for the privilege of meeting my friends here once more, some of whom I have met before, many of whom I have never seen. We are pleased to become acquainted with one another, and the better we are acquainted with the Lord, the more we shall appreciate those for whom He has given His life.
We should constantly appreciate and honor Him who has so honored us as to encircle us with His long human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. Thus He has connected finite man with the infinite God. This world by sin was separated from Heaven. Christ died that the gulf might be bridged. The only way in which men and women could come into possession of eternal life was for Christ to live and die on this earth.
I love my Saviour. I have given my life to His service, and never have I seen the moment when I could be ashamed of Him. I love Him because I have proved Him, and I know that He will do all that He has promised to do. He gave His life for me, and I have given all that I have to Him. I know that He accepts it. I feel so grateful that though I am 73 years old, I still have strength to serve God by speaking of His love to those who know Him and those who know Him not.
Just before Christ left His disciples, anticipating the trial and disappointment they would meet because of their belief that He was going to reign on the throne of David as Israel's king, He told them of what He was to endure, and entreated them not to be troubled. He knew how sore their disappointment would be as they saw Him suffering insult and mockery as He stepped lower and lower in the path of humiliation. He thought of His disciples, not of Himself. Would the trial be too great for them?
He sought to comfort them by speaking words of hope and courage. "Let not your heart be troubled," He said, "ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." What a comfort these words should be to us. Think of the work Christ is now doing in heaven--preparing mansions for His children. He wants us to prepare to dwell in these mansions. This we can do by cooperating with Him. If we form characters after the divine similitude, we shall inherit the mansions Christ is preparing.
"And if I go and prepare a place for you," He continued, "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
In the last chapter of Revelation we are told something about the home Christ is preparing for His faithful ones. John writes, "And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
Christ says, "I am the bread of life.... Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day" [John 6:35, 54]. It is our privilege to eat the bread of life. Christ says, "The flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" [verse 63]. As we believe and practice the words of Christ, bringing them into the everyday experience, we become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Speaking of the city of God, John continues, "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him." And then come words which comfort me continually: "They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever."
All through the Word of God are the most precious promises, but we must dig for them as the miner digs for the precious ore. We need to understand and practice the truth. As we are purified through the truth, we stand on vantage ground with God, because Christ has taken away our sins. As John saw the Saviour, he exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Christ had no sin, and therefore He was able to bear our sins. That He might make an offering for the human race, that they might be members of the royal family, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, He laid aside His kingly crown and royal robe, and stepped down from His high command, clothing His divinity with humanity.
How anxious we should be not to disappoint the Saviour. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. It is possible for us to be overcomers. Through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, we may obtain a glorious victory.
But the enemy will try to cast his dark shadow between our souls and God. He presents every possible inducement to lead us to be false to our Maker. He tries to gain control of the appetite, so that men and women shall make a god of the stomach. He knows that if they do this, their senses will become beclouded by overeating. He offers them stimulants and narcotics, hoping to lead them, in the use of these things, to forget God. Let us remember that these are the devices of the enemy to lead us to forget the advantages we may gain by every day eating the Bread of life.
Physically we are built up from what we eat. And so it is with the mind. If we make the Bible our guide and counselor, we shall be strengthened and built up. Our faith must cleave through the shadow and grasp the glory beyond. God says, "Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me" [Isa. 27:5].
This present life is full of disappointment and trial, affliction and suffering. But let us ever remember that our Saviour is the greatest of all medical missionaries. He sympathizes with the members of the human family in their affliction. He wants us to trust in Him, believing His words so fully that we shall bring heaven into our lives here below. We can make heaven in heart and home as we pass along if our lives are hid with Christ in God. Thus we can bring joy and comfort into the lives of others. Christ's joy will remain in us, and our joy will be full.
I see wonderful glory in the prospect before us, when Christ shall come in all His glory, to be admired in all them that believe. I want to be among the number who welcome the Redeemer with joy, among the number who will see His face.
Moses asked to see God's face, but the Lord told him that he could not see His face and live. He told him that He would hide him in the cleft of the rock, and cover him with His hand, and would then pass by before him and proclaim His name. And He passed by and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." This is God's character. And those who see His face must be like Him in character.
Christ continues, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." Thomas, always inclined to unbelief, though loving his Saviour, said doubtfully, "Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?"
Are there any here who, like Thomas, do not know the way? Listen to the Saviour's words. "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him. Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also." Thus we become laborers together with God. "And greater works than these shall he do, because I go to My Father."
What is Christ doing in heaven? He is interceding for us. By His work the threshold of heaven is flushed with the glory of God which will shine upon every soul who will open the windows of the soul heavenward. As the prayers of the sincere and contrite ones ascend to heaven, Christ says to the Father, "I will take their sins. Let them stand before You innocent." As He takes their sins from them, He fills their hearts with the glorious light of truth and love.
Christ loves us with a love that no language can express, no balances measure. His love is beyond comparison. He desires us to love perishing human beings as He has loved us. He wants us to be missionaries for Him. We are to do all in our power to relieve suffering and misery. If we can do no more than speak a word of cheer, let us do that. Christ will cooperate with us. He says, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.... If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever."
That Comforter is with us today. Letters come to me in which the writers ask me to pray for them. But Christ is praying for them. All they need is to carry their soul-distress to Jesus. He says, "I am at thy right hand to help thee." This is what I try to write to them. I tell them not to go to any human being for the help that Christ alone can give. He says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
These words are spoken to you. When you fall into perplexity, read this promise, and talk with God. Tell Him about your troubles and difficulties. He will never tell you that you are foolish for not understanding better. The Word declares, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Why do we not remember that Christ is our light, our salvation? He gave His own precious life that we might be guided, strengthened, and sustained. Why do we not go to Him as a child goes to its Father? He is our helper, our sufficiency, our all and in all. If we go to Him in faith, we shall never fail to receive comfort. He will deal gently with us in our infirmities, for He has been tempted in all points like as we are.
I have been sick since the beginning of my journey from California, and as I lay in my compartment on the train, with no one with me, how precious it was to commune with God. I was alone with Him, and if I ever realized His presence in suffering and distress, I did then. I felt that the everlasting arms were underneath me. I realized the comfort of the Saviour's love.
Do you not want to be among the number of whom Christ says, I have "a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy"?
Christ is the greatest medical missionary that ever lived. He never lost a case. He understands how to give strength and guidance to the physicians in this institution. He stands beside them as they perform their difficult surgical operations. We know that this is so. He has saved lives that might have been lost had the knife swerved a hair's breadth. Angels of God are constantly ministering to those for whom Christ has given His life.
God gives the physicians of this institution skill and efficiency because they are serving Him. They know that their skill is not their own, that it comes from above. They realize that there is beside them a divine Watcher, who gives wisdom to his physicians, enabling them to move intelligently in their work. It was by His order that this sanitarium was established here. We are so thankful that there is a place where medical missionary work may be carried on under the supervision of the great Medical Missionary.
God is above all, and He loves us all. He has a care for the work of His hands. We are to do our part by carrying out the instruction contained in His Word. We are to take proper care of the machinery of the human frame, which is so wonderful that David was led to exclaim, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Do not, I beg of you, mar the precious workmanship of God by improper eating, drinking, or dressing. Do not put any impediment in God's way. Act in accordance with the intelligence God has given you. He will keep you in health if you will do His will. He is the Restorer. These words have been spoken to me when the physicians have despaired of my life.
On one occasion my physician said, "Unless there is some change, you have only three days to live." In the night season One stood by my bedside and said to me, "Christ is the Restorer; Satan is the Destroyer. I am your Redeemer, and I will heal you." From that moment I began to recover, and when the physician came, he said, "Mrs. White, you are better. There is a sparkle in your eye which must be there in order for you to have health."
I love Jesus, and I want you to love Him. If you depend upon the power that is above every human power, you will gain the victory. Have faith in God. Human expectations may fail, but there is no failure in the promises of God. They are Yea and Amen in Christ. I claim God's promises, and I know that He will respond to my faith. He will do just as He has said He will do. I want you to have the comfort of the grace of God. I want you to feel that you are not alone, that you have a Comforter.
May God bless the suffering ones, and may they have hope and courage. This they will have if they will cast their helpless souls upon Jesus. His help will enable you to work out your own salvation and to help others. May God bless you all, is my most earnest desire and prayer.
Published in Sermons and Talks, volume 2, pp. 145-150