Fear of Man or Faith In God: You Decide – Sunday Thought For The Day
Our daughter-in-law is smart, she is beautiful, and she is absolutely in love with our son. But, more important than any of those things; she is a true born-again Christian who loves the Lord, which brings me to today’s Sunday Thought.
A few days ago, she forwarded me a letter written by the late Anglican Clergyman, John Newton. Her words of introduction to the letter and her reason for sharing same with me are, I believe, a message of encouragement to all who live driven by fear and all who fear man more than God.
BEGIN READING HERE:
She wrote: “I thought you might enjoy this letter. A friend sent it to me as encouragement today. It was from a pastor, John Newton in 1777 on the small pox vaccine and faith. Found it to be a beautifully written letter and reminder we never fear man or his punishments!”
June 3, 1777
It seems I must write something about the small-pox, but I know not well what: having had it myself, I cannot judge how I would feel if I were actually exposed to it. I am not a professed advocate for inoculation; but if a person who fears the Lord should tell me, I think I can do it in faith, looking upon it as a salutary expedient, which God in his providence has discovered, and which therefore appears my duty to have recourse to, so that my mind does not hesitate with respect to the lawfulness, nor am I anxious about the event; being satisfied, that whether I live or die, I am in that path in which I can cheerfully expect his blessing; I do not know that I could offer a word by way of dissuasion.
If another person should say, My times are in the Lord’s hands; I am now in health, and am not willing to bring upon myself a disorder, the consequences of which I cannot possibly foresee. If I am to have the small-pox, I believe he is the best judge of the season and manner in which I shall be visited, so as may be most for his glory and my own good; and therefore I choose to wait his appointment, and not to rush upon even the possibility of danger without a call. If the very hairs of my head are numbered, I have no reason to fear that, supposing I receive the smallpox in a natural way, I shall have a single pimple more than he sees expedient; and why should I wish to have one less? Nay, admitting, which however is not always the case, that inoculation might exempt me from some pain and inconvenience, and lessen the apparent danger, might it not likewise, upon that very account, prevent my receiving some of those sweet consolations which I humbly hope my gracious Lord would afford me, if it were his pleasure to call me to a sharp trial? Perhaps the chief design of this trying hour, if it comes, may be to show me more of his wisdom, power, and love, than I have ever yet experienced. If I could devise a means to avoid the trouble, I know not how great a loser I may be in point of grace and comfort. Nor am I afraid of my face; it is now as the Lord, has made it, and it will be so after the small-pox. If it pleases him, I hope it will please me. In short, though I do not censure others, yet, as to myself, inoculation is what I dare not venture upon. If I did venture, and the outcome should not be favorable, I would blame myself for having attempted to take the management out of the Lord’s hands into my own, which I never did yet in other matters, without finding I am no more able than I am worthy to choose for myself. Besides, at the best, inoculation would only secure me from one of the innumerable natural evils the flesh is heir to; I should still be as liable as I am at present to a putrid fever, a bilious colic, an inflammation in the bowels, or in the brain, and a thousand formidable diseases which are hovering round me, and only wait his permission to cut me off in a few days or hours: and therefore I am determined, by his grace, to resign myself to his disposal. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, (for his mercies are great,), and not into the hands of men.
If a person should talk to me in this strain, most certainly I could not say, Notwithstanding all this, your safest way is to be inoculated.
We preach and hear, and I hope we know something of faith, as enabling us to trust the Lord with our souls. I wish we had all more faith to trust him with our bodies, our health, our provision, and our temporal comforts likewise. The former should seem to require the strongest faith of the two. How strange is it, that when we think we can do the greater, we should be so awkward and unskillful when we aim at the less!
Give my love to your friend. I dare not advise; but if she can quietly return at the usual time, and neither run intentionally into the way of the small-pox, nor run out of the way, but leave it simply with the Lord, I shall not blame her. And if you will mind your praying and preaching, and believe that the Lord can take care of her without any of your contrivances, I shall not blame you. Nay, I shall praise him for you both. My prescription is to read Dr. Watts, Psa. cxxi. every morning before breakfast, and pray it over until the cure is effected. Probatum est.
Hast thou not giv’n thy word.
To save my soul from death?
And I can trust my Lord
To keep my mortal breath.
I’ll go and come,
Nor fear to die,
Till from on high
Thou call me home.
Pray for Yours, &c.
Hebrews 11:32-40 KJV
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here