I have been reading certain books (Calvin, Barth, and Bonhoeffer) as an aid to my devotional life and recently began reading Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. It is a marvelous little book that has been daily driving me to tears in confession of sins like pride, gossip and worldliness, and to call out to the Lord in prayer for help. How weak I truly am. Lord I need you!
I came across this reading a few days ago and thought to share it (as it particularly pricked my heart in the midst of four months now of ongoing physical pain and the often mental and spiritual trials which have daily accompanied it):
It is good for us to encounter troubles and adversities from time to time, for trouble often compels a man to search his own heart. It reminds him that he is an exile here, and that he can put his trust in nothing in this world. It is good, too, that we sometimes suffer opposition, and that men think ill of us and misjudge us, even when we do and mean well. Such things are an aid to humility, and preserve us from pride and vainglory. For we more readily turn to God as our inward witness, when men despise us and think no good of us.
A man should therefore place such complete trust in God, that he has no need of comfort from men. When a good man is troubled, tempted, or vexed by evil thoughts, he comes more clearly than ever to realize his need of God, without whom he can do nothing good. Then, as he grieves and laments his lot, he turns to prayer amid his misfortunes. He is weary of life, and longs for death to release him, that he may be dissolved, and be with Christ. It is then that he knows with certainty that there can be no complete security nor perfect peace in his life.
I pray the Lord keep and preserve me by His power. I know that in this world there is trouble and in every way and at every hour I need Him. Lord be merciful to me a sinner…
Great thoughts. I'm always impressed by the breadth and depth of your reading.