Another from Miss Carmichael

"As Glad and Merry as It Was Possible"

Nearly five hundred years ago Julian of Norwich wrote that when she was earnestly thinking of our Lord's suffering, and trying to see (as it were) His dying, "suddenly, He changed the look of His blessed Countenance. The changing of His blessed Countenance changed mine, and I was as glad and merry as it was possible. The brought our Lord merrily to my mind: Where is now any point of thy pain or of thy grief? And I was full merry." But this is only the beginning. It hath not entered into the heart to conceive the joy that is drawing nearer every day--the joy that shall be ours when we are where there will be no more withering or fear of withering.

"I understood that we be now, in our Lord's meaning, in His Cross with Him in His pains and His passion, dying; and we, willingly abiding in the same Cross with His help and His grace unto the last point, suddenly He shall change His Cheer to us, and we shall be with Him in Heaven. Betwixt that one and that other shall be no time, and then shall all be brought to joy. And thus said He in this Shewing: Where is now any point of thy pain or of thy grief? And we shall be full blessed." So she was "full merry." If it can be this now, what will it be when (as we trust, shortly) we shall see Him, and we shall speak face to face?

It seems to me clear beyond question that in the lives of God's beloved there are sometimes periods when the adversary is "given power to overcome." This power need never overhwelm the inner courts of the spirit, but it may press hard on the outworks of being. And so I have been asking that our dearest Lord may have the joy (surely it must be a joy to Him) of saying about each one of us, and about us all as a little company of His children: "I can count on him, on her, on them for anything. I can count on them for peace under any disappointment or series of disappointments, under any strain. I can trust them never to set limits, saying, "Thus far, and no farther." I can trust them not to offer the reluctant obedience of a doubtful faith, but to be as glad and merry as it is possible.

And all that begins in the gift of a great contentment.

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