When John Bunyan was vexed with vehement sorrow thinking he had committed the unpardonable sin, he decides to talk to an older Christian for some encouragement. This is what he got…..
“About this time I took an opportunity to break my mind to an ancient Christian, and told him all my case; I told him, also, that I was afraid that I had sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost; and he told me he thought so too. Here, therefore, I had but cold comfort; but, talking a little more with him, I found him, though a good man, a stranger to much combat with the devil. Wherefore, I went to God again, as well as I could, for mercy still.”
I share this account of Bunyan’s because I love the way he ended it, “Wherefore, I went to God again, as well as I could, for mercy still.” Praise God for this. I think God was teaching Bunyan that his consolation, comfort, and relief depended and rested in God alone. Bunyan was being prepared for the suffering he would endure in his lengthy imprisonment still yet to come. And it was in this imprisonment that he wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. There was no other way for him to have written that story except with comfort he found in God.
When God is taking you into the wilderness to be tried, He is forging in you a heart that will be dependent upon Him only. Not everybody is prepared by God the same way, but we should not be surprised if we are being sifted as wheat by the evil one, that God might be glorified in an abundant harvest of faith produced by this labor of suffering. Sometimes we get comfort through other believers, sometimes through circumstances, sometimes through a worship service. And these are means, but it is from the God of all consolation that comfort originates. So we must not only look for comfort in the means God uses, but we must look to the God whereby it starts. He is the great cause of all our comfort, all our peace, all our joy, and finally, all our rest.
So let us go to God again, as well as we can, for mercy still!