My friend, John J. Murray, gave me a booklet when we were at a meeting in Glasgow recently. He and members of his family were involved in its reproduction. It is the diary and life of Cathie MacRae of Lochalsh who was born in 1907 and died in Invergordon Sanatorium in 1948. She started to write it that year of her death and it ends suddenly. She lived a life full of Jesus Christ, thoughtful, mature and utterly radiant. Her writings describe her long-drawn spiritual conflict, her suffering and weakness as she spent seven years in a sanatorium, and so it does not tell the whole story of the woman. A pastor who knew her well describes her as the happiest Christian he ever knew. Her humility perhaps caused her not to draw attention to that assurance and joy and so the book is slightly unbalanced, but she bore a consistent Christian witness and helped many of her fellow patients, showing some the way to the Saviour. She was a woman of prayer and loved the Word of God. The following extract provides a taste of the book:
My health had improved a bit during the spring of 1936 and that cheered me physically, but oh, how I longed for health of soul! If only I could say I had salvation I would be happy and content, and I often silently uttered the prayer I read of Mr Spurgeon’s: ‘Give me to know that Thou art mine and that I am Thine.’ I read several tracts which gave St John 3, v. 16, as the means used by the Holy Spirit in the conversions of many sinners, but to me it was like any other verse in the Bible until one morning (the 4th April ’36), while sitting washing my face in the bathroom, the full meaning of it was revealed to me, and I could see God’s great love for sinners, and therefore that He must love me. I felt happy indeed that morning, but Satan was not to leave me long happy for he soon came to me saying I was not one of the elect and therefore could not be saved. What a frail, faithless article I was, and what an easy prey for the Evil One I was then. As my mind was troubled over this suggestion of his, I happened to read in a book: ‘Am I one of the elect? The Heavenly Father who puts the love into our hearts is willing to come with us on our dark roads, and He has said, “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee.”‘ That gave me comfort at that time, but still I went on doubting and taking heed at times to what the Tempter said, such as ‘if you’re one of the elect you will be saved, and if not you won’t be saved however much you wish you were.’ On 10th April the following verse came forcibly to my mind (Psa. 34, v. 19):
The troubles that afflict the just
In number many be;
But yet at length out of them all
the Lord doth set them free.
By no means did I place myself among the ‘Just.’ It was the last two lines that gave me comfort and hope, that He would set me free from all my troubles. Such promises as ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee’ would come very sweetly to me and I’d be so happy, but after a time I was back to my despondency again for I expected to feel a great change in myself and see a change too. What happiness I missed in those years all through looking to myself and feelings instead of looking more to Christ!
This booklet was first published in 1959 and copies of this new edition are available at £2, post free, from Andrew Murray, 35 Crathes Gardens, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 9EN. It is 60 pages in length and the profits from the sale will go to the work of Bethany Christian Trust, the homeless charity, based in Edinburgh. One recent Lord’s Day my wife was unable to attend church having a heavy cold and she read this book through in a couple of hours and was delighted with it. Having spent a month in hospital as a teenager she was full of sober wonder at a young girl spending years of her life in a sanatorium. Thank God for modern medicines that can deal with tuberculosis.
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