Coloratura Christian

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Jonathan & Sarah Edwards on Finding Happiness in God Above all Others

When reading about a wonderful marriage like Jonathan and Sarah Edwards enjoyed, it can be tempting to become too consumed with thoughts of this relationship--as if marriage was an end in itself. How typical of us sinners to dwell on a wonderful blessing in place of the One who blesses. I love reading how Edwards looked to God alone for his ultimate happiness and satisfaction. I am challenged by how this godly man, who valued his wife very highly, viewed God as infinitely better than any earthly thing. He says:
God is the highest good of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. — To go to heaven fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean. — Therefore it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end and proper good, the whole work of our lives, to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness? (Edwards, "Christian Pilgrim," in The works of Jonathan Edwards)

With his death fast approaching, he told his daughter Lucy:
Dear Lucy, It seems to me to be the will of God, that I must shortly leave you; therefore give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her, that the uncommon union, which has so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature, as I trust is spiritual, and therefore will continue forever: and I hope she will be supported under so great a trial, and submit cheerfully to the will of God. And as to my children, you are now like to be left fatherless; which I hope will be an inducement to you all, to seek a father who will never fail you. (Dwight, "Memoirs," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards as quoted by Moore, Good Christians, Good Husbands?, p.126)
I am always astounded when I read Sarah's response to her husband's death. I wonder if I could respond as she does if God chose to take my husband. When she heard of her husband's death, she wrote to her daughter:
O my very Dear Child, What shall I say. A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may all kiss the rod and lay our hands on our mouths. The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness that we had him so long. But my God lives and he has my heart. O what a legacy my husband and your father has left us. We are all given to God and there I am and love to be. (In Burr, Journal, 301. as quoted by Moore in Good Christians, Good Husbands?, p.126)
Oh, to sincerely love God even more than our greatest earthly blessing! To say amidst great trials that God has our heart. To 'kiss the rod' and 'adore his goodness.' To be fully satisfied in Christ alone and say, "there I am and love to be." I pray that God would do this work in my heart.


  • At May 04, 2006, Blogger Ian said…

    Thank you for this.

  • At May 04, 2006, Blogger Jodi said…

    A subject to be pondered deeply and often! The deep love between husband and wife and the deeper love of God.
    Have you ever read John Piper's poem (book) "The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God?" If not, it is a must read for anyone who has gone through anything which even remotely caused them to ask "Why?" I know Jonathan Edwards is one of Piper's mentors of the faith...perhaps he drew from the quote you mentioned.

    "What we have lost God will restore-
    That, and himself, forevermore,
    When he is finished with his art:
    The quiet worship of our heart.
    When God creates a humble hush,
    And makes Leviathan his brush,
    It won't be long before the rod
    Becomes the tender kiss of God."

    Do you suggest a good biography of Sarah Edwards?

  • At May 05, 2006, Blogger Christel said…

    Hi Jodi,

    I've read a book on Sarah Edwards called "Marriage to a Difficult Man" by Elizabeth Dodds that was pretty good. All our books are packed up so I'm having a hard time remembering what else I've read on her that was interesting. But this book would be a starting place.

  • At May 06, 2006, Blogger Larry said…

    Interesting and edifying post. I plugged it on my blog.

  • At May 07, 2006, Blogger Marlene S. said…

    Thanks Christel. That quote of Sarah Edwards' is like an echo of my mother (although Sarah penned it first).

    I have been blessed to witness the divine separation of a glorious union between my parents. I say blessed, because in his last days, my father communicated his great love for my mother, as well as for his God.

    Also blessed, because my mother, in losing her soul-mate, is still able to be content under the "rod", as Sarah: "laying our hands on our mouths". My mother has accepted her remaining days "as from the Lord", which encourages me that indeed both can happen: deep love for another pilgrim, completed and fulfilled with deep love from our Heavenly Father.

  • At March 26, 2007, Blogger David said…

    thanks for posting this. sarah edwards modeled a spiritual maturity that few today have attained.

  • At June 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi cristel,

    great webpage. wonderful stuff on sarh and jonathan edwards. oh, how we need to return to this kind of Christ exalting living within the church!!
    i am moving with my wife and two children , to canmore in july and i am starting a three year MDiv at ambrose seminary in calgary.i am training for the ministry.
    blessings to you and your write well and with great insight!

  • At June 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    somehow the last post left my name off...

    i am gavin

  • At November 01, 2008, Blogger said…

    I am reading this book now. I really needed to hear what you said about the "One that blesses." I have gotten caught up in the blessing! Thank you!


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