The Joy of Hope

“Far greater than all other afflictions, deeper than all other sorrow, heavier than all other grief, is that which comes with the consciousness of our sins and depravity in the sight of a holy God. Loss of worldly possessions, friends and health, all these are nothing to this affliction. Temporal misfortunes and suffering are counted light in comparison with this heavy and painful burden that now weighs us down to the dust. What anguish is in that self-abhorrence we must feel while ever conscious of being ourself the very corrupt thing we loathe! What sorrow in feeling that we are daily offending against the holiness of that God we have come to adore, and the sense of whose displeasure is now our greatest oppression! No words can express it. Oh could we but be pure in his sight!

Could the stains upon us but be washed away! But we are all one stain in his sight – no soundness or purity in us. How we sink under the oppression while our heart bursts with its fullness of grief, and becomes weak and tender as we think of that purity we so long for, but which, alas! can never be ours. Is it a wonder that the poor heart leaps for joy and bursts forth in glad and triumphant songs of praise when the wonderful and blessed way of salvation is made known to us, and that holiness from which we had thought ourselves for ever debarred becomes ours through a glorious Redeemer, “who was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (II Corinthians 5:21)?” But this is the joy of hope. “We wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Galatians 5:5).”

We are yet left with “the body of this death” and all its heaviness, waiting for deliverance, and comforted during our sojourn here by that blessed and sure hope. When we contemplate the glory to which it points us with steadfast certainty, the cause of sorrow is gone, forgotten; but when we look upon ourselves, it returns with full force. Through death only shall full deliverance come; and it is not strange, therefore, that when heavily burdened and dark, death should appear desirable to us.” – Silas Durand, The Trial of Job

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