The School of Painful Experience

All Christians, even the most eminent servants of God, have their bad and dark seasons – when the life of God seems sunk to so low an ebb as to be hardly visible – so hidden is the stream by the mud-banks of their fallen nature. By these very dark and dead seasons, the people of God are instructed.

They see and feel what ‘the flesh’ really is – how alienated from the life of God; they learn in whom all their strength and sufficiency lies; they are taught that in them, that is, in their flesh, dwells no good thing; that no exertions of their own can maintain in strength and vigor the life of God; and that all they are, and have – all they believe, know, feel, and enjoy – with all their ability, usefulness, gifts, and grace – flow from the pure, sovereign grace – the rich, free, undeserved, yet unceasing goodness and mercy of God!

They learn in this hard school of painful experience, their emptiness and nothingness – and that without Christ they can do nothing. They thus become clothed with humility, that rare, yet lovely garb; cease from their own strength and wisdom; and learn experimentally that Christ is, and ever must be, all in all to them and all in all in them.

By J. C. Philpot

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