So, it’s Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent. I’ve decided not to give anything up; rather, I’ve decided to give myself a task: I’ve decided to read Knowing God by Jim Packer. It’s sat on my shelf for a while now unread, and when I suggested it to someone else to read I thought – hey, you know what? That’s actually quite a good idea!
So here I am. Over the past few weeks, through a variety of means, I feel like God has been teaching me about himself. I found the book Behold Our Sovereign God by Mitchell Chase very helpful on God’s sovereignty – and I have another couple of books to read on the Trinity and God’s providence – but I felt like Knowing God was a good place to start as we begin this period leading up to Easter, as I think it’s more general purpose.
So what I will endeavour to do is read and blog as we go with things that strike me. One thing which particularly struck me just reading chapter one is the quotation from Spurgeon. Spurgeon, genius that he was, had a way with words, and this is him at his best [apparently written when he was only 20 years old!]:
The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls Father.
There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity.
… But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe … The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity.
… And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.
Apologies for the long quote, but I think you get the picture. I was particularly moved by that last paragraph: it has been my experience over the last few weeks, particularly given my Mum’s illness, that contemplating God in his immensity has proven to be effective in helping me cope. How can I worry, when I know that God is in control?
So hopefully all these kinds of things will come out over the next few weeks in the run up to Easter!