“What a wonder am I to myself! Compared with what I deserve to be, how happy! Compared with what I desire to be, how miserable! -Andrew Fuller
One of the things that God often uses in my life to teach and strengthen me is to read the diaries of dear departed saints. I have gotten much fruit from reading the diary of Robert M. McCheyne, Andrew Fuller, John Newton, and David Brainerd, to name a few.
Often as you read through the diaries of these great men of God one is struck with how miserable they sometimes are. It seems that many of these—those that seemed in public to have it all together—are wrestling with God from the depths of their souls. I don’t think they are being dishonest or faking it in public. I simply think that they have a tendency (like myself) toward introspection and as such they are prone to this pain.
If you read through enough of these diaries you will see a pattern. Usually after these bouts of misery God will heal with the balm of grace. And hence we have the first part of Fuller’s quote—“compared with what I deserve to be, how happy”. The gospel penetrates through the misery and the light and beauty of Christ is seen more clearly against the backdrop of personal sin and failure.
I think Fuller is onto something here. Believers are in a constant state of exceeding joy at who they are in Christ—but are not yet what we desire to be…and therein lies a deep seated misery.
May this cause us to long for eternity—when our faith will become sight and our desire to see and savor Christ without the heart-numbing stain of sin will be finally realized.