Why can’t I seem to get it?
I look around at other believers and they seem so passionate about Jesus. They seem to not be marked by my negativity and skepticism. Holiness seems to come easy to them. They don’t seem to have the desires that I have or to be privy to the battles like the ones that wage war in my fragile mind. They seem jovial, cheerful, and together.
I’m broken. I’m jaded. My prayer life stinks. My hope is often dashed. I constantly proclaim the sufficiency of the gospel but I have a hard time living in it myself. Even this little tirade is dark, morbid, and skeptical.
Why can’t I be like those other guys? Why do I struggle as I do? Why can’t I seem to conquer this junk, this heart that is prone to negativity?
These other believers are amazing! They have such a tremendous relationship with the Lord and never seem to struggle as I do. They always seem to be in a happy and blessed frame.
To such a heart Newton replied:
I must say it is well that they do not live here; if they did, they would not know how to pity us, and we should not know how to understand them. We have an enemy in Olney that fights against our peace, and I know not one amongst us but often groans under the warfare. I advise you not to be troubled by what you hear of other folks experience, but keep close to the written word, where you will meet with much to encourage you, though you often feel yourself weary and heavy laden. For my own part, I like that path best which is well beaten by footsteps of the flock, though it is not always pleasant and strewed with flowers.
In other words, the way of believers isn’t an unhindered and constantly blessed frame. The way of believers is marked by war, struggle, defeat, and bewilderment. But it is a path that is trodden by many faithful believers and one that plods through the valleys with eyes to follow the Master’s sandal prints.