Friday, November 16, 2007

Burroughs--The Quiet of Heart and What it is not opposed to

Some might think that if God desires us to be content always then does that must mean that we can never have a frown on our face. Does this mean we cannot weep? Does this mean that it is a sin for a Christian to be sad? In his typically profound way Burroughs will help us see three things (page 3)that this "quiet of heart" is not opposed to:
  1. To a due sense of affliction. What Burroughs means by this is that the Christian should not ignore and refuse to acknowledge that there are difficult times. If we were totally unaware that we were being afflicted then what type of virtue would it be to have joy amidst the trial? The very nature of being content in all circumstances points to the necessity of being sensible to our afflictions.
  2. To making our cries known to God. Notice in the life of Job that he was able to make his affliction known to his friends without sin. He was able to even make his plea to God without sin. But what if we are being disciplined? Can we then make our moan known to God? Burroughs seems to think this unfitting when he says, "...a Christian ought to be quiet under God's correcting hand". However, Burroughs also says, "without a breach of Christian contentment complain to God". The way this is done is by a "quiet, still, submissive way [in which we disclose our] heart to God."
  3. To seeking help and refuge from the difficult circumstance. Who knows if it is God's will to alter our condition? Perhaps God wills to bring us through this suffering time. Indeed we should pray and seek to be relieved. As Burroughs says, "God is thus far mercifully indulgent to our weakness, and He will not take it ill at our hands if by [serious intention] and [persistent] prayer we seek Him for deliverance until we know His good pleasure in the matter." Which should thus desire that our "wills [be] melted into the will of God".
These things then are not opposed to Christian contentment. It is soothing to a broken soul to know that it is not merely okay to make their request known to God but strongly suggested. Nor is it wrong to be broken and to cry out to the Almighty! James 1:2-18 confirms this. Especially focus on verse 5. James is specifically saying that if any of us lack wisdom [in the context referring to wisdom in our trials] we should ask the Lord. Then we are encouraged by the character of God, "who gives generously without reproach". The word for reproach means he does so without rebuking us, without thinking we are stupid for asking, or without laughing at us and scorning us. I am reminded of Psalm 103:14, that God "knows our frame; he remembers that we are but dust." Therefore today let us make our request known to God. But also might we fashion our prayer after what Burroughs said, that "our wills be melted into the will of God".

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