I've been struggling with some heaviness and discouragement that has been tough to shake. The Lord is faithful to remind me of truth, but sometimes in weakness it is tough to reach out for the peace and comfort that is ours in Christ.
In the midst of these times, I'm reminded to be grateful for the Spirit, the Word, community, and some old theologians that feel as though they've become dear friends. One of those being Thomas a Kempis - below is a writing of his that brought me much hope and joy today.
Grievous Things Endured
My son, be not wearied by the labors which you have undertaken for my sake, nor let tribulations cast you down. But let My promise strengthen and comfort you under every circumstance. I am well able to reward you, above all measure and degree.
You shall not long toil here, nor always be oppressed with griefs. Wait a little while, and you shall see a speedy end of your evils. There will come an hour when all labor and tumult shall cease. Poor and brief is all that which passes away with time.
Do in earnest what you do; labor faithfully in My vineyard (Matt. 20:7); I will be your recompense. Write, read, chant, mourn, keep silence, pray, endure crosses manfully. Life everlasting is worth all these battles, and greater than these. Peace shall come in one day which is known unto the Lord, and there shall be "not day, nor night" (Zech. 14:7) (that is, of this present time), but unceasing light, infinite brightness, steadfast peace, and secure rest. Then you shall not say: "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24); nor cry, "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech" (Ps. 120:5). For death shall be cast down headlong, and there shall be salvation which can never fail, no more anxiety, blessed joy, companionship sweet and noble.
Oh, if you had seen the everlasting crowns of the saints in Heaven, and with what great glory they now rejoice, who once were esteemed by this world as contemptible, and in a manner unworthy of life itself! Truly you would humble yourself even to the earth, and would rather seek to be under all than to have command even over one. Neither would you long for this life's pleasant days, but rather would rejoice to suffer affliction for God, and esteem it your greatest gain to be reputed as nothing among men. Oh, if these things had a sweet savor to you, and pierced to the bottom of your heart, how could you dare so much as once to complain!
Lift up your face therefore to Heaven. Behold, I and all My saints with Me, who in this world had great conflict, do now rejoice, now are comforted, now secure, now at rest, and shall remain with Me everlastingly in the kingdom of My Father!