Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42:11
Do you forget, O soul, that the way to heaven is a very strait and narrow path—too narrow for you to carry your sins in it with you? God sees it good that you should be cast down. You were getting very proud, O soul. The world had gotten hold of your heart. You were seeking great things for yourself. You were secretly roving away from the Lord. You were too much lifted up in SELF. The Lord has sent you these trials and difficulties and allowed these temptations to fall upon you, to bring you down from your state of false security.
There is reason therefore, even to praise God for being cast down, and for being so disturbed. How this opens up parts of God’s Word which you never read before with any feeling. How it gives you sympathy and communion with the tried and troubled children of God. How it weans and separates you from dead professors. How it brings you in heart and affection, out of the world that lies in wickedness. And how it engages your thoughts, time after time, upon the solemn matters of eternity—instead of being a prey to every idle thought and imagination, and tossed up and down upon a sea of vanity and folly. But, above all, when there is a sweet response from the Lord, and the power of divine things is inwardly felt, in enabling us to hope in God, and to praise His blessed name—then we see the benefit of being cast down and so repeatedly and continually disturbed.
Trials, temptations, strippings, emptyings, the very trials and afflictions, and the sore temptations through which God’s family pass, all eventually endear Christ to them. And depend upon it, if you are a child of God, you will sooner or later, in your travels through this wilderness, find your need of Jesus as “able to save to the uttermost.” There will be such things in your heart, and such feelings in your mind—the temptations you will meet with will be such—that nothing short of a Savior that is able to save to the uttermost can save you out of your desperate case and felt circumstances as utterly lost and helpless. This a great point to come to. All trials, all temptations, all strippings, all emptyings that do not end here are valueless— because they lead the soul away from God. But the convictions, the trials, the temptations, the strippings, the emptyings, that bring us to this spot—that we have nothing, and can do nothing, but the Lord alone must do it all—these have a blessed effect, because they eventually make Jesus very near and dear unto us.
J. C. Philpot (1802 – 1869)