Spiritual Depression a Deterrent to Pride2
Although it first strikes us as odd, there is much truth in the fact that sometimes God “hides himself from us, because by his foresight and prudence he is thus able to prevent the breaking forth of evil” (Charles Spurgeon, “The Causes of Apparent Desertion,” 6). Continue reading . . .
Although it first strikes us as odd, there is much truth in the fact that sometimes God “hides himself from us, because by his foresight and prudence he is thus able to prevent the breaking forth of evil” (Charles Spurgeon, “The Causes of Apparent Desertion,” 6). In his remarkable article on why we occasionally fall short of the enjoyment of God’s sensible presence, Spurgeon suggests that it may be that God is guarding us from an even greater evil. Here is what Spurgeon had in mind:
“Perhaps pride would rise to an alarming height if the pining sickness of desertion did not somewhat abate its violence” (7).
No one seeks for the “pining sickness” that comes from feeling as if God has deserted us (and again, it is only a feeling and never a fact!). But if it were not for those seasons of felt abandonment our pride would expand and threaten to overtake us. “Continual comfort” can all too often breed presumption. Spurgeon continues:
“If some men had all their desires the earth would need enlargement, for their pride would become intolerable to their fellows; and, certainly, while corruption still remains in our hearts, continual comfort would work somewhat in the same manner even in us. Because of the haughtiness, which so easily arises in the hearts of the Lord’s people if they have a little too much feasting, ‘the Lord in his care and goodness is fain to hold them to hard meat, and to keep them to a spare diet.’ Sometimes, also, high living would bring on careless of walk. We should forget that we walk by faith, and not by sight, if it were not for intervals of darkness in which sense is put to its wit’s ends, and only faith is of use to us.”
We typically want to understand both the nature and cause of everything. But when “sense” or understanding or insight is “put to its wit’s end” we then discover what Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 5 that we walk by “faith” and not by sight.
“Dependence is generally the mother of humility; as long as we feel the one we shall not be quite devoid of the other; therefore our Divine Lord, according to his own wisdom, gives us a bitter lesson in both, by stopping the supplies of joy and withholding his presence.”
Unless you are sensible of unrepentant sin in your life, don’t jump to the conclusion that when God diminishes “the supplies of joy” it is in discipline or judgment. It may well be that “withholding [the sense of] his presence” is the only effective way in which he can cultivate deeper dependence on his grace and love.
“The fact is, that in our present state much that is pleasant to us is not good for us. We are not able to endure the weight of glory, for our backs are weak, and we stagger under it. It is hard to hold a full cup with a steady hand. We are like the fire on the hearth, which can be extinguished by too much sunlight, as well as by floods of water; even joy can destroy us as well as grief” (7).