I found a secret letter this week, and after reading it closely, I wondered if it might have been written about me … or perhaps, you. 

See what you think. After some formal salutations at the beginning of the letter, this is what it says:

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“ … I gather that Our Lord has given you a great deal of grace, and now is dealing with you in the usual way. You have felt, in the past, that you were making progress and improving, and that God had led you into a new way.

But after some time it always happens that one seems to return to the rut of common life. Provided you have the same desire to be all for God, what does it matter how you feel? Except that this sort of feeling of dryness or dissipation is founding humility in you – We have to accept from God with absolute submission (and with what joy we can) not merely our sufferings, but: — Also ourselves, all our inborn and ingrained weakness and selfishness and incapacity.

And also the poor amount of sanctity we see in ourselves.

If we were always sailing along in a fair wind, we should have very little to suffer, and very little to make us humble. It is when we can’t pray, and can’t feel we want only God’s will, and can’t even feel humble (and so forth), that we are being purged and molded and made into what God wants us to be. We are like little children being washed and having their hair brushed by a nurse; they don’t like it at all, and think the nurse is very unkind.

… (L)earn to accept exactly the prayer that God gives you here and now. It is quite right to wish for higher union with God, and to envy those who have attained it: — but, here and now, I must wish for exactly the state God wishes me to be in, whether it means distractions, or discouragements, or sleepiness, or merely emptiness. Nothing matters but God’s Will; and we do not want simply God’s Will, if we are really dissatisfied with what we get from Him.

It is the habit of referring everything to God’s Will that we must acquire. And we should always be at peace, if we had really acquired it. As far as I gather from (you), there is nothing going wrong. You feel sometimes, I expect, like a watch which has run down, — you want winding up! You do try, I know, to care only for God’s Will. But you do not always realize, perhaps, that He loves you just as you are, for your good. And yet, of course, you do know it. In fact, you know already all I can say to you, only it is sometimes useful to be assured of it by someone else.

… One is inclined to say ‘I am so weak, I can’t go on like this! I must have some consolation, or I shall merely fall, and grow worldly.’ But God knows best. Absolute and complete confidence, trust, abandon, is what we need.

I apologize for writing such obvious truths! Please pray for me and I will pray for you.”

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So, what do you think? Could that letter have been intended for you? I feel like it could have been written for me. This letter was written on March 22, 1922, by Dom John Chapman, the fourth Abbot of the Downside Abbey in Great Britain. It was NOT written to me … or to you. It was actually written to a lay woman who sought spiritual counsel from the Abbot … but it sure sounds like it could have been written to me. Don’t you agree? 

I guess we all get feelings of emptiness and dryness … like our little light has gone out and God is not around to re-light it! But, those episodes occur in the lives of all Jesus’s followers. Some of the most famous Saints in history, and some of the most faithful servants of God in our times, have felt the darkness, the separation from God, or the heavy burden of life so much that we think we can’t go on. Or maybe, we just pray that it’s got to  get better than this! 

Here is the HOPEFUL news in all this:

1) God is getting us through everything, even to the end;

2) We are getting stronger in faith each and every day that we rely on God to lead us through the tough times and the dry spells; and, 

3) We always, always, always have HOPE, because we always have God … our Lord and savior Jesus Christ … and the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Somebody say AMEN!                                                                                                                     Pastor Bob <><