Day 14 Monday 20 December 2021
For those who have Christ in their hearts, they have inner joy and peace in all circumstances
Reflection: Journal of John Wesley dated May 24th 1738
[John Wesley was almost in despair. He did not have the faith to continue to preach. When death stared him in the face, he was fearful and found little comfort in his religion. To Peter Böhler, a Moravian friend, he confessed his growing misery and decision to give up the ministry. Böhler counseled otherwise. “Preach faith till you have it,” he advised. “And then because you have it, you will preach faith.”]
I asked P Bohler again whether I ought not to refrain from teaching others. He said, “No; do not hide in the earth the talent God hath given you.”
Friday 19: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I had continual sorrow and heaviness in my heart.
Wednesday 24: In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to The Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ. I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust I Christ. Christ Alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial manner despitefully used me and persecuted me. I then testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart. But it was not long before the enemy suggested, “This cannot be faith; for where is thy joy?” Then was I taught that peace and victory over sin are essential to faith in the Captain of our salvation; but that, as to the transports of joy that usually attend the beginning of it, especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes giveth, sometimes withholdeth, them according to the counsels of His own will.
After my return home, I was much buffeted with temptations, but I cried out, and they fled away and They returned again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and He “sent me help from his holy place.” And herein I found the difference between this and my former state chiefly consisted. I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might under the law, as well as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered; now, I was always conqueror.
For many, this year does not represent Joy and Peace. It is more a year full of calamities and chaos. John Wesley’s experience above reminded us that the devil will use this to bring us down and to tell us that there is no faith in us. Do not despair. Trust in Christ and him alone for our salvation. And we will have peace and victory over sins. This joy sometimes will be manifested outwardly and sometimes it will not. God gives and withholds them according to the counsels of His own will.