suffering: this is something I had not considered writing on till I read a chapter in Night of Weeping, by Bonar. While I read I suddenly realized that I have had an incredible amount of sufferings since I became a Christian. And it has been an enormous blessing to my soul. Before I never really fully grasped the blessedness of sufferings. Now I realize the full value of every trial and temptation that I am put through. My trials, my temptations, have been used by my saviour to change me; to change me till I am more like himself. I do not really like the modern view of Christianity, in which upon a persons coming to Christ he is immediately changed, so that for his own good he becomes more holy; and God becomes a faucet that the can turn on and off at will; and in which suffering is a foreign concept. But its preposterous; the very idea of not suffering is disgusting. Before I came to Christ I looked on suffering with horror; but my saviour has suffered for my sake, and now I look on not suffering as a horror. If I had never suffered, I would be none the better for my life in Christ. But the Lord, in his mercy, vaster, broader than the sea, has inflicted heavy trials upon me (and upon all whom are His), most of them inward, that a torn me to pieces, yet in the end have brought my soul closer to my suffering saviour. It is almost good to think that there is enough wickedness in me for a life of suffering. But I move on to fast. I must now explain a few of the benefits of this suffering. The first is that it has brought me closer to God. The second is that each suffering has torn some of the world away from me. You would not believe how bad the world can look in times of suffering. Another is that suffering strengthens the soul; if it weren’t for suffering, I don’t believe a Christian of eighty years would be any different, any more mature or wise, than a Christian of one week. Suffering is a great teaching tool. The benefits of suffering are vast and great, but there are many things I wish to cover in this post, so I shall have to move on soon. But I would like to say that being a Christian has completely changed my view of suffering. Christ has taught me to think of every trial as precious.
prayer: before I knew Jesus, praying was a formality. It’s soul purpose was to benefit me. Being in Christ has changed that. I now only pray when I want to. And that is often. Praying brings me near to Christ. And, when I am near to him, I find myself constantly wanting to draw nearer. And, when Christ chooses to be far from me, (which would fall under suffering), the greatest comfort I have is prayer. Prayer is my comfort; for it is where I must run in times of trial. Prayer is my protection; for where else may I go in times of temptation? Prayer is my instructor; I find myself learning more during my own prayer time then when reading J.C. Ryle. I am not perfect in prayer, nor will I ever be, for I cannot be perfect in anything on earth; and though I may be in heaven, I will not need prayer there.
As all men, even my prayers are infected with sin. But being in Christ, my prayers are made perfect before the Father by the Spirit. There is great consolation in knowing that my prayers are being watched. And on earth, the Spirit is in my prayers also, for it gives me words to speak. Before I did not understand this, for I thought if that if my prayers were being made perfect, the why need I put any effort into them? But in Christ I see that there are one good reason to pray: love for Christ.
reading the word: before I met Christ, I saw this as a duty. And now that I am in Christ, I see it as an issue of love to Christ. In other words, I now see it as… a duty. Okay, but there is some difference. First it was a duty necessary toward my own salvation, and being a good boy. I did it for my sake. And now it is a duty toward my own salvation, for one cannot be saved if one does not love Christ. But now, upon seeing Christ, I am doing it for him. Seeing Christ makes me want to know him; the best place, other than prayer, to find him is in his word. And when God, for his own blessed reasons, departs from me for a time, I can find comfort in his word. God’s word has become increasingly important to me just to face the day. And I cannot imagine what I would do without.
sin: before, I hated sin because I was not in Christ; now I hate sin because I am in Christ. God has been increasingly showing me the insolence of sin. How can I profess to love Christ if I sin? Yet Christ is merciful; I can love him because I know my sin is not counted against me. God has taken away the power that sin had over me. He has not allowed me to serve two masters. I sin often; but in Christ, I can have a clean conscience before God. I say I can, for I do not always. I am frail. The knowing that my sins are forgiven makes me wish not to sin, to please my forgiver. And I have the Great Comforter, the great guide, to aid me. I know I cannot achieve holiness while below. But the merits of Christ are enough. I am not free of sin, but sin has lost its sweetness, now that I have had a glimpse pf the sweetness of God. And sin has lost its power; and I have the power of Christ working for my good, in many ways.
O.K., so its 12:40 on a Friday night. I have exhausted my resources. I need to wrap it up.