Already encouraged, yet there is MORE to come!
My hiatus did not last long, however. After reading the Gospel of Matthew, I felt the desire to devour another biography. Scripture is enough on its own, there is simply no doubt, but there is something incredibly encouraging about being invited inside the minds of godly men and women who recorded the Lord's dealings with them so we might benefit from their personal lessons. Praise the Lord for their willingness to write them down!
Every book in my stack of unread biographies seemed appealing, but the Lord pushed my hand to select the one that chronicles the life of this man: Robert Murray M'Cheyne.
I knew absolutely nothing about him, but boy is he making his way into my affections quickly! I have only finished the first chapter, yet I feel as though I know this man - and understand him. The author records dozens of quotes from M'Cheyne's personal diary, but I think this entry paints a vivid picture of how He saw himself - and His God. (in his early years, age 20+)
"What a mass of corruption I have been! How great a portion of my life have I spent wholly without God in the world, given up to sense and the perishing things around me! Naturally of a feeling and sentimental disposition, how much of my religion has been, and to this day is, tinged with these colors of earth!
Restrained from open vice by educational views and the fear of man, how much ungodliness has reigned within me! How often has it broken through all restraints, and come out in the shape of lust and anger, mad ambitions, and unhallowed words! Though my vice was always refined, yet how subtle and how awfully prevalent it was!
How complete a test was the Sabbath - spent in weariness, as much of it was given to God's service! How I polluted it by my hypocrisies, my self-conceits, my worldly thoughts, and worldly friends!
How formally and unheedingly the Bible was read - how little was read - so little that even now I have not read it all!
How unboundedly was the wild impulse of the heart obeyed! How much more was the creature loved than the Creator! O great God, that didst suffer me to live whilst I so dishonored Thee, Thou knowest the whole; and it was Thy hand alone that could awaken me from the death in which I was, and was contented to be. Gladly would I have escaped from the Shepherd that sought me as I strayed; but He took me up in His arms and carried me back; and yet He took me not for anything that was in me. I was not more fit for His service than any man, and no more worthy to be called and chosen.
Yet why should I doubt? Nay, I come to Christ, not although I am a sinner, but just because I am a sinner, even the chief."
... still I believe that my soul is in sincerity desirous and earnest about having all its concerns at rest with God and Christ - that His kingdom occupies the most part of all my thoughts ...
As surely as Thou didst make the mouth with which I pray, so surely dost Thou prompt every prayer of faith which I utter. Thou hast made me all that I am, and given me all that I have."
Imagine what words will flow from his pen after he has walked with the Lord for another decade!
I am eager to learn how this man, who is granted but thirty years of life on earth, lives out his final days. I already find myself stirred up "to love and good deeds," and the Lord is not finished with him yet!