The #1 Lesson From God We Need to Learn

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Jesus holding woman's hand

The soul is made for this and can never find rest short of it. All God's dealings with us, therefore, are shaped to this end; and He is often obliged to deprive us of all joy in everything else in order that He may force us to find our joy only and altogether in Himself.

It is all very well to rejoice in His promises, or to rejoice in the revelations He may have granted us or the experiences we may have realized; but to rejoice in the Promiser Himself—Himself alone—without promises, or experiences, or revelations, this is the crowning point of Christian life; and this is the only place where we can know the peace that passes all understanding and that nothing can disturb.

We have so accustomed ourselves to consider all these accompaniments of the spiritual life as being the spiritual life itself that it is hard to detach ourselves from them. We cannot think that the Lord can be anything to us unless we find in ourselves something to assure us of His love and care.

When we talk about finding our all in Him, we generally mean that we find it in our feelings or our views about Him. If, for instance, we feel a glow of love toward Him, then we can say heartily that He is enough; but when this glow fails, as sooner or later it is almost sure to do, then we no longer feel that we have found our all in Him.

The truth is that what satisfies us is not the Lord, but our own feelings about the Lord. But we are not conscious of this, and consequently, when our feelings fail we think it is the Lord who has failed, and we are plunged into darkness.

Perhaps an illustration may help us to have clearer vision. Let us think of a man accused of a crime, standing before a judge.

Which would be the thing of moment for that man: his own feelings toward the judge, or the judge's feelings toward him?

Of course we will say at once that the man's feelings are not of the slightest account in the matter. The man might have all the "experiences" conceivable, but upon the judge only would everything depend.

In the same way, the only really vital thing in our relations with the Lord is not what are our feelings toward Him, but what are His feelings toward us. The man who is being tried must find in the judge all he needs, if he is to find it at all. His sufficiency cannot be of himself, but it must be of the one upon whom his fate depends. And our sufficiency, the apostle says, is not of ourselves but of God.

This, then, is what I mean by God being enough. It is that we find in Him, in the fact of His existence, and of His character, all that we can possibly want for everything. "God is" must be our answer to every question and every cry of need. If there is any lack in the One who has undertaken to save us, nothing supplementary we can do will avail to make it up; and if there is no lack in Him, then He, of Himself and in Himself, is enough.

Read a companion devotional.

Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) was an American evangelist, speaker and writer who is probably best known for her book The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life (Whitaker House). She was born and raised near Philadelphia, as a Quaker, but after her marriage to Robert P. Smith in 1851, the couple worshipped with the Plymouth Brethren for a time. Both ultimately returned to the Quakers after helping to establish the Keswick, or "higher life," movement in England and becoming famous teachers of holiness and sanctification. Though Hannah has been criticized for some of her views, she remained a religious celebrity until her death, and her writing still impacts generations of believers today.

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