Well, this didn’t turn out the way I had planned or hoped. I was originally going to have my first post be the vindication, or lack thereof, of Prince Myshkin from Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. I’m in the process of re-reading some sections to find clues as to why Dostoyevsky ended the way he did, and so, that might not be ready for another week or so.
I’m also preparing for a conference this weekend in Ashford, CT on Seeking God–where I will be giving two talks. One on the life of David Brainerd, and the second on meditation and scripture memory as the bedrocks of our prayer life.
It’s in reading through Brainerd’s journal that I came across a wonderful entry; and it is that entry that will be featured as the meat and potatoes for this post.
On Thursday, November 4, 1742, in preparation for his missionary work, Brainerd wrote:
But of late, God has been pleased to keep my soul hungry, almost continually; so that I have been filled with a kind of pleasing pain. When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable; and the Lord will not allow me to feel as though I were fully supplied and satisfied, but keeps me still reaching forward. I feel barren and empty, as though I could not live without more of God…. Oh for holiness! Oh for more of God in my soul! Oh this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God… O that I may feel this continual hunger…. to reach forward in the narrow way, for the full enjoyment and possession of the heavenly inheritance! O that I may never loiter in my heavenly journey!
I have often wished that I could speak and write of holiness the way Brainerd does. I have wished that I could be more like him in his devotion even when pressed with his extreme difficulties. More often than not, I have lamented the times when I did loiter on my heavenly journey. If there was ever a figure from history that could provide us with an example of “pressing on to the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”, it’s David Brainerd.
We’ll learn more about him this weekend! And, if you won’t be there, there are plenty of copies of his journal floating around on the internet.