Friday, May 06, 2016

Discouragement and Hope

  This is a great peace on discouragement and then hope.

  "When the spirits are sinking, and the press of the world arises in its strength; when the will trembles and faints beneath its load, and the jubilant days of rejoicing dash by us and leave us at a cruel distance; when the presence of more energetic and devoted souls fill us with a sorrowing reverence, and humble us to the dust with self reproach; when the silent shadow of lost opportunity sits cold upon us, and the memory of misspent moments drips upon the sad heart, like rain-drops from the wintry boughs; then, no peace of God, no tranquil order of life, no free and open affection seems possible again: the rainbow of hope has fled from heaven, and the green sod of the earth is elastic to our feet no more: the very universe seems stricken with a rod of disappointment that has turned into lead; and God's will either vanishes utterly from our view, or appears to us a hard task-master, that lashes our worn out strength, and lays on us a burden greater than we can bear.

But at other times, when perhaps some affliction casts us down, or some call of difficult duty startles us, we have clearness enough left to pray with a mighty and uplifted heart. God seems to behold the silence of our surrender, and snatches us up into his infinite deliverance. Our soul retreats within, and sees his light; it spreads without, and feels his power. We can put our heel on toil and fear, and move over them with the spring of resolution. A glory spreads over the clouds of sorrow, which makes them majestic as the serene and open sky: they hang over us a canopy of heavenly fire, the hiding-place of a thunder that terrifies us not. The things that seemed so huge to the microscopic eye of worry, retreat into infinite littleness before the sweep of a more faith filled vision. Whole floods of trouble, peopled with terrors, become as dewdrops on the grass: and the very earth itself, with its crowd of struggling interests, appears like a calm orb floating in the deeps of heaven. Moments like these occur to all tried and faithful minds; and they are the beacons and landmarks of our spiritual way, alone remaining visible over the long reaches of our journey." James Martineau.  

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