Looking unto Jesus…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame….
Those who have gone through some “long night of the soul” realize that there is a limit to man’s ability to live without joy!
Even Christ could endure the cross only because of the joy set before Him.
The strongest steel breaks if kept too long under unrelieved tension. Believe it that God knows exactly how much pressure each one of us can take! He knows how long we can endure the night, so He gives the soul relief, first by welcome glimpses of the morning star and then by the fuller light that harbingers the morning.
Slowly you will discover God’s love in your suffering. Your heart will begin to approve the whole thing. You will learn from yourself what all the schools in the world could not teach you—the healing action of faith without supporting pleasure!
You will feel and understand the ministry of the night; its power to purify, to detach, to humble, to destroy the fear of death, and what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life. And you will learn that sometimes pain can do what even joy cannot, such as exposing the vanity of earth’s trifles and filling your heart with longing for the peace of heaven!
What I write here is in no way original. This has been discovered anew by each generation of Christian seekers and is almost a cliché of the deeper life. A few will understand—and they will constitute the hard core of practicing saints so badly needed at this serious hour if New Testament Christianity is to survive to the next generation!