Daily Fenelon > Ups and Downs

Ups and Downs

Suffering is necessary for all of us. You will be purified by dying to your own desires and will. Let yourself die! You have excellent opportunities for this to happen—don't waste them! I agree that the daily standards that you live by should not be relaxed in any way. Yet you must deal gently with the faults of others. Learn to be lenient with the less important matters, but main" tain your firmness over that which is essential.
Remember that true firmness is gentle, humble, and calm. A sharp tongue, a proud heart, and an iron hand have no place in God's work. Wisdom "sweetly orders all things." Do you act this way? If you ever find yourself acting otherwise, humble yourself immediately. Uphold a godly standard, but admit when you uphold it in an ungodly way.
No book or prayer will help you die to yourself as much as facing the humiliation of your daily failures. Of course you must still retire inwardly and be faithful to bring yourself before God. I also warn you not to let your business distract youfrom your spiritual life. If you allow yourself to be constantly distracted, your heart will grow hard. Retire to pray when you can and live the rest of your day in love.
Let the ups and downs of your spiritual life come and go. If you were always down, you would become hardened and discouraged. God gives you seasons when you can catch your breath.
Let me tell you about myself. When I suffer, I can never see an end to my trials. And when relief comes, I am so suspicious that the suffering is not really over that I hesitate to accept my rest. It seems to me that to accept both "good" and "bad" seasons alike is to be truly fruitful. Accept both comfort and correction from the hand of God.
Of course, this is all very easy for me to say to you, but I want you to know that I cringe at the very thought of the cross coming to work in me. I am not telling you that experiencing the cross will be easy. Outwardly it will be difficult, but inwardly it can be worse—a time of agony and dryness. If I sound a bit pessimistic, it is because I am writing to you in the midst of a spiritual dry spell. I don't know what tomorrow brings. God will do what seems good to Him. Sometimes what He wants is hard to accept. Listen to God—there is true freedom, peace, and joy in Him.