GRACE ABOUNDING

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

It’s 2:30 a.m. in the morning;
  mind is occupied with weighty thoughts.
I rise because I cannot sleep.
Enter my “book” room and scan the shelves for
a particular book of comfort.
Selection: Grace Abounding
Author: John Bunyan
Renown writer of The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Exceptional and extraordinary preacher, writer and expositor of England in the 1600’s.
My fingers touch the well-worn book
grateful for the writings and refuge of a fellow pilgrim;
Grateful for an individual who speaks candidly to the intimate arena of internal affliction.
My eyes light upon a dog-eared page.
An excerpt from the great saint’s afflicted soul:
…I often found in my mind a great urge to curse and swear, or to speak some grievous thing against God, Christ His Son, or of the Scriptures. Now I thought, surely I am possessed of the devil. At other times, I thought I would be bereft of my senses; for instead of praising and magnifying God the Lord with others, if I but heard Him spoken of, presently some most horrible blasphemous thought or other would bolt out of my heart against Him.
…These things did sink me into very deep despair, for I concluded that such things could not possibly be found among those who loved God.
While this torture lasted, which was about a year, I could attend to none of the ordinances of God but with sore and great affliction; then I was most distressed with blasphemies, and despair would hold me a captive there. If I was reading, then sometimes I had sudden thoughts to question all I read. At other times my mind would be so strangely snatched away and possessed with other things that I neither knew, regarded, nor remembered as much as the sentence that just then I had read.

~~~
Many find it difficult to believe,
A great saint like John Bunyan could experience such
 an intensive, internal, horrific affliction as this ....
And yet he did!
Indeed, on the heels of great afflictions, such as this,
He penned some of the most remarkable literary words the world has ever read.
He could not control the name or scope of his personal affliction,
but he could learn to master its difficult condition
and pursue His walk with Christ in greater and more emphatic intensity as a result.
This, to me, is more remarkable, inspiring and encouraging,
than all of his greatest works put together.
John Bunyan identified his "afflictions" at the end of his life as a 
catapult to his deep and developed faith;
not a hindrance.
Afflictions in our lives may cause us to question, as John Bunyan did,
 a great deal...
about ourselves and God.
But they must not become a roadblock to our faith
Or its development.
Indeed, God has a work to do yet!
~~~
John Bunyan urges and reminds....
 in personal affliction
to move toward a deeper and more deliberate walk with Christ.
Compelled to love the compelling One…
He whispers to every afflicted soul,
You are not alone.
Maintaining his affection for Christ and His word
amidst the cruelest of internal afflictions;
He continued His pursuit of God and his final testimony
secured him a wondrous and glorious ovation both on earth and in heaven.
He urges me to do the same; affirming and asserting the marvelous reality .....
Christ triumphs over affliction,
Praise the Lord!
~~~
Afflictions have different names;
arrive in different forms,
in each of our lives.
But in the end…
They prove an extraordinary catalyst to a wondrous conformity.
Stay the course!
God has a work for you;
He's preparing you .... for something down the road.
increase your time with Him,
Intensify your time in the word,
Invest in more prayer ...
And prove Him.
God will be faithful in your affliction.
~~~
“I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right,
and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”
Psalm 119:75