A good friend of mine, who is a missionary in a very difficult context, is reading the same book on prayer that I recently read – A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. He provides a thought and a moving quote. Soak on this one for awhile:
I’ve been particularly struck by a quote he presents from the 16th century. It point to the fundamental condition of the Christian life – we think we’ve “arrived” when we are least desperate. But rather, it is our desperation that actually pushes us into Christ. This is essentially the paradox of Jesus’ words to Paul in 2 Cor. 12: “My power is perfected in your weakness.”
Here’s the quote. The author imagines these words of Christ to a believer:
“I know those moods when you sit there utterly alone, pining, eaten up with unhappiness, in a pure state of grief. You don’t move towards me but desperately imagine that everything you have ever done has been utterly lost and forgotten. This near-despair and self-pity are actually a form of pride. What you think was a state of absolute security from which you’ve fallen was really trusting too much in your own strength and ability…. what really ails you is that things simply haven’t happened as you expected and wanted.
“In fact I don’t want you to rely on your own strength and abilities and plans, but to distrust them and to distrust yourself, and to trust me and no one and nothing else. As long as you rely entirely on yourself, you are bound to come to grief. You still have a most important lesson to learn: your own strength will no more help you to stand upright than propping yourself on a broken reed. You must not despair of me. You may hope and trust in me absolutely. My mercy is infinite.” (John of Landsburg, A Letter from Jesus Christ; quoted in Paul Miller, A Praying Life, p. 58).