Pulverbach, 1 January 1843.
My dear J. B.,
I fancy I can see you bemoaning your case, and saying within yourself, This seems very hard, I fear the hand of the Lord is gone out against me, and that I shall be Mara, not Naomi. Only consider how wise God is, and that the government of all things is upon his almighty shoulders. He will act as a Sovereign, and give no account of his matters. Perhaps you cannot fathom his designs, but can you not venture to hope that they are for good towards you? The very circumstance you look at with suspicion, as evil, may be God's way of keeping you under the word, and of giving you a keener appetite for it.
Unbelief, or carnal wisdom, meeting with no small conceit and consequence, finds it hard work to agree with the Lord that it is his design to do you good by these dispensations; it will rather consider them as so many black marks of his purpose of utterly pulling you to pieces. This was the way the Lord began with me; and for the want of that good instruction which you have under a faithful ministry, I was long entangled in confusion, not knowing which way to take; but the Lord mercifully kept his eye upon me to preserve me from utterly departing from him, and by many trials and adversities of all sorts he brought me to bow and stoop under his mighty hand. At last I began to understand that it was the Lord who had taken me in hand, and that though I had struggled hard to escape, all attempts to do so were vain. But he was pleased to give me a little light and understanding in his gracious purpose, which brought me to many confessions; and to my surprise, the more I came this way, the more the Lord instructed me. "I was brought low, and he helped me." Then I searched more particularly in his word what sort of sinners find mercy, and how; and I was further surprised to see that the promised rest was only for the troubled, and that his people were a poor and afflicted people; but let them be never so low, he made me to understand that he would have me in all my difficulties to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear young friend, do not be disheartened at what is before you; there can be no real ground for fear, if it be Jesus you are seeking. He will take care that all crooks shall be made straight; and though you may have to rough it for awhile, only watch his coming and going, and you will never be a loser.
Your faithful friend, J. B.