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“My dear Sir,

You say you are more disposed to cry misery than hallelujah. Why not both together? When the treble is praise, and heart humiliation for the bass, the melody is pleasant, and the harmony good. However, if not both together, we must have them alternately: not all singing, not all sighing, but an interchange and balance, that we may be neither lifted up too high nor cast down too low, which would be the case if we were very comfortable or very sorrowful for a long continuance. But though we change, the Saviour changes not.

All our concerns are in his hands, and therefore safe. His path is in the deep waters; his thoughts and methods of conduct are as high above ours as the heavens are high above the earth; and he often takes a course for accomplishing his purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He wounds, in order to heal; kills, that he may make alive; casts down, when he designs to raise; brings a death upon our feelings, wishes and prospects, when he is about to give us the desire of our hearts. These things he does to prove us; but he himself knows, and has determined beforehand, what he will do.

The proof indeed usually turns out to our shame. Impatience and unbelief show their heads, and prompt us to suppose this and the other thing, yes, perhaps all things, are against us; to question whether he be with us and for us, or not. But it issues likewise in the praise of his goodness, when we find that, in spite of all our unkind complaints and suspicions, he is still working wonderfully for us, causing light to shine out of darkness and doing us good in defiance of ourselves.”

Source: Ortlund, R. Doing us good in defence of ourselves, http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/2013/06/12/doing-us-good-in-defiance-of-ourselves/, (June 2013)

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Now, believe it or not, we are threatened by such a free God because it takes away all of our ability to control or engineer the process. It leaves us powerless, and changes the language from any language of performance or achievement to that of surrender, trust and vulnerability….That is the so-called “wildness” of God. We cannot control God by any means whatsoever, not even by our good behavior, which tends to be our first and natural instinct…. That utter and absolute freedom of God is fortunately used totally in our favor, even though we are still afraid of it. It is called providence, forgiveness, free election or mercy…. But to us, it feels like wildness — precisely because we cannot control it, manipulate it, direct it, earn it or lose it. Anyone into controlling God by his or her actions will feel very useless, impotent and ineffective.

Richard Rohr, From Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on Male Spirituality