May 28, 2009

I think I need to do a little more skipping and leaping for joy!

Thinking of those sweet stories we have heard and most have personally experienced at some point in their lives--you know the ones that cause a young man to go skipping down the street, feeling as those his feet are barely touching the ground, after hearing (for the first time) "I love you" from the lips of the girl he also loves. He is filled with joy and can hardly contain himself. He wants to tell the world, "She loves me! She loves me!"

God made us emotional creatures. To think that those "feelings" and highly emotional experiences should be limited to human relationships is ridiculous. When a soul knows the overwhelming love of God and feels nothing, there is something very wrong. Did not David dance in the streets?

While pondering these things, I received this little excerpt in my morning devotional emails and smiled as I read it:

Was Sarah Edwards an over-emotional person? Was she a kind of ‘balance’ for her supposedly unemotional, strict husband Jonathan Edwards? Or was she an intelligent and articulate woman, highly respected in the community, who had the privilege of personal encounters with God?

Jonathan encouraged her to record her various experiences (covering two and a half weeks in 1742) for the edification of others. Iain Murray calls her words ‘an amazing testimony to how much of heaven can be enjoyed upon earth.’ (Murray, Jonathan Edwards, Banner of Truth, p.193)

These are a few excerpts of her story…

Back at the house…trying not to leap for joy ‘While I was uttering the words [of one of Isaac Watts’ hymns], my mind was so deeply impressed with the love of Christ, and a sense of his immediate presence, that I could with difficulty refrain from rising from my seat, and leaping for joy.’

The Presence of God ‘Under a delightful sense of the immediate presence and love of God, these words seemed to come over and over in my mind, ‘My God, my all; my God, my all.’ The presence of God was so near, and so real, that I seemed scarcely conscious of any things else. God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, seemed as distinct persons, both manifesting their inconceivable loveliness, and mildness, and gentleness, and their great and immutable love to me. I seemed to be taken under the care and charge of my God and Saviour, in an inexpressibly endearing manner; and Christ appeared to me as a mighty Saviour.’

The Dignity of a Royal Priesthood ‘The next day, which was the Sabbath, I enjoyed a sweet, and lively and assured sense of God’s infinite grace, and favour and love to me, in taking me out of the depths of hell, and exalting me to the heavenly glory, and the dignity of a royal priesthood.’

Intense admiration of God’s Grace ‘To my mind there was the clearest evidence, that God was present in the congregation, on the work of redeeming love; and in the clear view of this, I was all at once filled with such intense admiration of the wonderful condescension and grace of God, in returning again to Northampton, as overwhelmed my soul, and immediately took away my bodily strength.’

(From ‘The Narrative of Sarah Pierpont Edwards’, Jonathan Edwards [1743], Family Writings and Related Documents (WJE Online Vol. 41)

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