It has been a busy, happy summer in life and ministry here. So much so that I have not slowed down to tap out any good quotes from the books I have been reading. This one, though, was worth taking the time to write out. It’s from a book called Puritan Spirituality by Irvonwy Morgan, in a chapter about the Puritan’s emphasis on seeing suffering as part of God’s sovereign purpose in the lives of his children. In contrast, he holds up Sir Francis Bacon’s failure to receive God’s redemptive grace through suffering:
“For Bacon, sophisticated, highly intelligent, ambitious, scholarly, and cultured, lacked the one virtue which lies at the root of religion, namely, humility. He certainly suffered great humiliations, falling from the height of Lord Chancellor of England to imprisonment in the Tower; fined an enormous fortune for accepting bribes; banned for ever from sitting in Parliament, he drank to the dregs the cup of adversity, but without finding humility. (86)
This is such a sad evaluation. God surely intends for our “humiliations” and hard times to produce godly humility, as we look beyond ourselves and our poor resources to his power and grace. But it’s possible to grow prouder, more self-reliant, more isolated from God when trials beset us. May we be those who let suffering lead us to deeper humility, which is the heart of true godliness.