Coming to Jesus in Utter Dearth of Feelings

The Victorian novelist, theologian and fantasy writer, George MacDonald (1824-1905), suffered much during his life. Providing for eleven children was always a great weight on his mind, even after his books began to sell. Witnessing the death of four of his children was even harder. MacDonald also experienced physical suffering, struggling all his life with eczema, asthma and bronchitis. Inclined towards a melancholy temperament, MacDonald often experienced periods of intense doubt, depression and dryness.

Throughout all these trials, MacDonald retained a childlike trust in God, believing that His Heavenly Father was using everything that happened to him—including the challenging circumstances—to make him more like Jesus. This perspective helped MacDonald to see his periods of spiritual dryness are actually gifts sent for the perfecting of his faith. “That man is perfect in faith” he once wrote, “who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, ‘Thou art my refuge.’”

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