Elder Olsen, Dear Brother,
You are presented before me as bowed upon your knees in prayer, pleading in an agony of soul. You are praying aloud, saying, "Lord, I look over the field, and there is so much to do to set things in order, so much left undone that ought to be done, that I am burdened and distressed beyond measure. O Lord, who is sufficient for these things? To whom shall I go but unto Thee? Thou hast the words of eternal life. I am utterly weak, and ignorant, and help less. Where are the poor sheep of Thy pasture, who need to be fed and watched over; but I am not able, I cannot do this great work. Take it, O Lord, it is Thy work. I am only Thy weak instrument. I see so little done in the right spirit, in the spirit that will produce results, that I am dis heartened, I do not know how to work."
Elder Olsen, I hope you will not permit anxiety concerning the neglect of duties of the church to so cloud your mind that you will fail to look steadfastly to Jesus. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." It is proper to entreat the church to make individual work in repenting because they have left their first love; but never despair. Jesus loves all these souls better than you can love them. You have your work to do. It is a responsible work, but you are not to look at it until it assumes so large proportions, that it hides Jesus from your sight. You are pained because many are satisfied with the form of godliness, while denying the power thereof. They look with satisfaction in the performance of outward ceremonies, and yet there is no evidence that they are vitally connected with God. They are deceived in regard to their condition, and this deception is hard to break up. They know little of the depths of their own natural corruption, or of the infinite holiness of God. They do not realize that the foundation of all their faith and hope should only be the perfection of Jesus our surety. The only genuine saving faith is that which lays hold upon the imputed righteousness of Christ. He is the only source of virtue, of spiritual power and life. Each must have a knowledge of God for himself, must have faith in Jesus Christ whom God hath sent. When the members of the church have this experience Christian virtues will shine forth, and they will be clothed with humility. The fruit of this faith will be love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness and goodness, and the object of their lives will be to glorify God day by day.
In looking upon the professed followers of Christ you see great deficiencies in the church, in families, and in individuals: but you cannot make one soul clean. We must look to our High Priest, who ever liveth to make intercession for us. Thank God that human agents are not constrained to wear the official breastplate. Jesus is able to bear it. He is able to bear all your burdens. You are invited to cast all your care upon Him. He will be your counsellor, your everlasting support. The enemy is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness: but you must gird your self with Christ's righteousness, and tell your experience that others may be benefited.
Suffer not this or that event, the want of piety in professors, the lack of godly work in those connected with the cause of God to confuse and startle you. You have the word of God, take it, believe it, plant your feet upon it, and you will find it is solid rock. In Christ you may stand firmly.
We cannot expect that everything will move along smoothly; for everything is to be shaken that can be shaken. God is testing and proving His people. Angels of God, intelligences of heaven are watching the development of character, and weighing the moral worth of the professed fol lowers of Christ. Look up, look above the whirl of daily occurrences, and fix your eye upon Him who never changes and you will endure as seeing Him who is invisible. You may look forward with joy to the finishing of the mystery.
As an instrument in the hand of a Master Workman, you may do what you can, but do not worry. Do the best you can and keep cheerful. Though the father of lies will set every conceivable power at work to discourage and make faint-hearted the chosen of God, yet do not permit him to triumph over you. I know that a heavy burden rests upon you, and we will try to bear it with you, though we cannot be upon the ground. But Jesus will be close by your side, and daily you may find rest and peace in Him. You need more rest. You are not immortal, and you can not bear constant strain. You have a divine armor that Satan wants to strip you of: but trust in Jesus like a little child. You are to let your light shine, not to make it shine. Jesus will do that. Let the righteousness of Christ surround you as a garment. Believe that all your knowledge, all your wisdom, will come to you from the Holy One of Israel, who will not fail, nor be discouraged.
Though every individual is a probationer, and every day men are deciding their own future destiny, though this is an awful thought, and you feel intensely over the matter, yet you cannot make those who will not place themselves in the channel of light, stand where they may reflect the glory of God.
One thing is certain, the names of all the chosen are upon the breastplate of our great High Priest. He says, "I have graven thee on the palms of my hands." O He loves us! He loves us! Praise His holy name! He has bound us to His great heart of love. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died." But we are not left with Christ in Joseph's new tomb? "Yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh inter cession for us."
Although we may feel deeply over the unbelief and the absence of love for Jesus in those we meet, and even find this lack among those who claim to believe the truth and proclaim it, yet there is no reason why we should despond. Although many have lost the ardor of their first love and are spiritually barren, giving evidence of this fact in their cold formal prayers and heartless testimonies, yet shall we wrap the mantle of gloom about us? No, this would please the enemy. We are to believe that the Lord Jesus lives, that the Sun of Righteousness shines in clear and steady rays, and although Satan may cast his hellish shadow before our eyes, to dim the brightness of the face of Christ to us, yet we are never to forget that His face shines upon us. By faith we are to see Him who is invisible, and never imagine that Jesus has left us to fight the battle alone. Battles we shall have to fight, but heavenly intelligences are in the army of the Lord and Christ is the captain of our salvation.
There is one thing we should not for get, and that is that "every plant that my heavenly father hath not planted shall be rooted up." Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they fol low me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My father which gave them me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of (my) father's hand." "All that my Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
We need not utter the mournful lamentation, "The Lord has forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me." For Jesus never forsakes a soul that desires Him. Men separate themselves from Him by their sins and transgressions; but Jesus draws the souls of men that they may behold Him and fall in love with Him. In Christ is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Jesus never asks us to bear more burdens than we have strength to bear. Let us not gather so many burdens upon ourselves that we shall be crushed under them. Let us lay the heavy burdens on One who can carry them.
Jesus is our advocate, He is our friend at court. Let us lean on His almighty arm, and go on our way rejoicing, making melody in our hearts unto the Lord. Jesus is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. In Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. You have a complete Saviour, who is close by your side, and with and through Him you can do all things. You need not seek for more efficient aid. The cause and work in which you are engaged is the Lord's, and He is able to bring forth a people, tried, purified, and made white. There is a God in Israel, who is full of wisdom, grace and power. He who is mighty in counsel will preside at every meeting.
You may weep, my brother, but ever behold through your tears the sunshine and the rainbow of promise. I caution you to heed the words of Christ to His disciples, "Come ye apart, and rest awhile." You cannot always be in the din of battle and preserve your strength; you must have periods of rest. In the name of Jesus, I beseech you to rest. You will lose nothing, the cause of God will lose nothing; for you will come forth from your^rest invigorated with more clearness of thought, more strength of intellect, and better prepared to do the important work committed to your charge. --Letter 23, 1892.