I found myself reflecting again on John Newton’s poem, “These Inward Trials.” His words remain so true and perceptive in spiritual insight. We easily drift into a discouraged and disillusioned state when we misunderstand the ways of God Newton described here.
I asked the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.
I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request,
and by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
the hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
‘Lord, why is this?’ I trembling cried,
`Wilt thou pursue Thy worm to death?’
`Tis in this way,’ the Lord replied,
`I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou mayst seek thy all in Me.’