Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. (Hebrews 12:2)
The passion of the Cross is the way of our
release, and if you consider your own spiritual experience, those of you who
have any experience of a walk with God, you know quite well that it has been
through times of deep and acute suffering that you have found fresh releases;
fresh releases in your spiritual life. Is it not true? Yes, we pass into a time
of excruciating spiritual and soul suffering. We do not know what the Lord is
doing, what He means by this, what He is after, but we know the features of our
experience and know what it is that we are suffering, and it goes on. We, of
course, ask the Lord to stop it, to bring it to a quick end, to deliver us from
it. He takes no notice of us, and it is only those people who get out the other
end who say, ‘Thank God, He did not take any notice.’ In the meantime, we think
He is anything but kind and good and doing the right thing, but as we get on
under His hand, we begin to see and to sense that He is dealing with something.
Maybe He is dealing with our pride, our independence, or our irresponsibility,
for example. That is the issue that comes up, and we are faced all the time with
something about ourselves that is almost devastating. We would not have believed
that that was so strong in us.
Oh, of course we were always ready to believe
that that is in mankind and in us as a part of mankind in a general way. Yes, we
would never have resented being told that there was pride or something like that
about us, but we would never have believed how deeply rooted and terribly strong
that thing is until it was put to a fiery test and everything was held up, and
we saw that everything in our life and work for God was held up on that point....
And we know quite well that what the Lord was after was not the pulverising of us, as we
thought, the winding up of us, but to bring about enlargement, to bring about
release, and release always lies along the line of the Cross, the passion.
Enlargement always lies in that direction.