No doubt, after going through a war and all the chaos that followed, François Fénelon saw some of his fellow countrymen in a deep depression. Was it the way they lived that caused this? Of course, Fénelon had some advice. He told them it is false humility to believe ourselves unworthy of God’s goodness and dare not look to Him with trust. True humility lies in seeing our unworthiness and surrendering to God, never doubting that He can work out the most needed results for and in us. If God’s success depends on our foundations, we might as well suspect that our sins destroyed our chances. But God needs nothing that is in us. He can never find anything there except what He has already given. We cannot say that the worthlessness of a person who is bound with sin in a faithless soul, is the most appropriate of all subjects to receive His grace.

God delights to pour out His mercy on sinful souls. Especially those who have never experienced anything because they were too spiritually weak to ask for any of God’s gifts. It is just as the Apostle Paul says: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He chose the weak things of the world to embarrass the strong.”[1] So, don’t be afraid that your past faithlessness makes you unworthy of God’s mercy. Nothing is so worthy of compassion as utter weakness. Jesus came to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.[2] Indeed, all would be lost if it were not for Him. The physician seeks the sick, not the healthy. Oh, how God loves those who boldly come to Him wearing their filthy, ragged garments and ask, as a child does of a father, for some clothing that would make them look better.

You may be wanting to keep in touch with God until He shows His smiling face. But I tell you that if you open your heart thoroughly to Him, you will cease troubling yourself about looking special when His face appears. Let Him change your harsh and dissatisfied look as much as He wants to. He will never love you more than when He shows displeasure, for He disciplines only to test, humble, and free souls from self-righteousness.

Do you want God’s pity, or do you want God? If pity, then you don’t love God for His sake but your own. In that case, you don’t deserve anything from Him. But if you seek Him alone, you will find Him more quickly when He tests you than when He pities you. When He feels sorry for you, you may end up caring more for what gives then for the Giver Himself. But when He deals roughly with you, and you hold on fast, it is to Him alone that you cling. The best time for progress is not when you delight in having a contented conscience, but when faith is unresponsive and cold – if you do not yield to discouragement.

Leave it all to God. It is not your business to judge how He should deal with you because He knows far better than you do what’s best for you. You deserve a certain amount of trial and distress. Endure it patiently! God keeps doing His part, even when He doesn’t answer you right away. So, do your part, which is to love Him without waiting for Him to assure you of His love for you. Your love is a guarantee of His; your confidence will end up turning all His sternness into tenderness. That means if He doesn’t show more interest, surrender to His decisions, and accept His intentions of nailing you to the cross in union with His Son, Jesus, that you might live in partnership with Him.

Such is the solid food of pure faith and generous love with which you should sustain your soul. I pray that God may make you strong, carrying your troubles. Expect all, and all will be given you: God and His peace will be with you.

Written over 450 years ago

Vocabulary redacted by Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] 1 Corinthians 1:27

[2] Mark 2:17

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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