Humility?

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Do not look for such great matters to begin with; but be content to be a child, and let the Father proportion out daily to thee what light, what power, what exercises, what straits, what fears, what troubles he sees fit for thee; and do thou bow before him continually in humility of heart… Thou must join in with the beginnings of life, and be exercised with the day of small things, before thou meet with the great things, wherein is the clearness and satisfaction of the soul. The rest is at noonday; but the travels begin at the breakings of day, wherein are but glimmerings or little light, wherein the discovery of good and evil are not so manifest and certain; yet there must the traveller begin and travel; and in his faithful travels … the light will break in upon him more and more.

Isaac Penington, 1665, from a letter (QFP 19.43)

I am struggling at the moment to understand about humility. It is all too easy, within a church or a religious community, to submit to its doctrine or rule of life and honestly believe that that is humility. A sense of self-mistrust leads to allowing trust in an institution to replace trust in God.

In any case, I find it far too easy to “despise the day of small things” (Zechariah 4.10 NIV) and not be content with such “glimmerings or little light” as are shown me. But is is precisely in waiting, content, in the smallness of my own heart, that the Light may rise over the horizon of my own misgivings. John Bellows wrote (QFP 2.15)

I know of no other way, in these deeper depths, of trusting in the name of the Lord, and staying upon God, than sinking into silence and nothingness before Him… So long as the enemy can keep us reasoning he can buffet us to and fro; but into the true solemn silence of the soul before God he cannot follow us.

(Photo: Mike Farley)

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