“…It is a sort of pain, too, which is new to me. I have been used to the gratification of believing myself to earn every blessing that I enjoyed. I have valued myself on honorable toils and just rewards. Like other great men under reverses,” he added, with a smile. “I must endeavor to subdue my mind to my fortune. I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.” ~ Captain Wentworth, Persuasion by Jane Austen
Captain Wentworth has just realized that, had he returned to Anne sooner, he could have spared them both six years of pain. Far from being adverse to marrying him, Anne could marry no one but him and, therefore, had turned down other proposals. Pride, in short, had cause him his pain; and humility eventually brought him the blessing of being happier than he deserved—of finally being with Anne.
I find that in coming to faith we (or at least I) experience the same process. In ninth grade I was on the brink of faith when a rejection of sorts led me to put a wall of pride around my heart. I rebuffed God and went about as if I didn’t need the One I had begun to seek. About five years later, upon seeking that faith again, I came to find that God had not rejected me but had been waiting for me with open arms. Had I not been so hard headed, I could have spared us both years of foolishness, pain, suffering, and separation. And, in the end, I found myself the benefactor of a happiness and joy and peace that I do not deserve.
My pride had cause my pain, but humility brought me a blessing I did not deserve.
…“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” ~ James 4:6 ESV
With humility comes great things, not the least, grace.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. ~ Matthew 23:13 ESV
But, for most of us, before we experience the undeserved happiness of grace and relationship with God, we must first be made humble. I had to be brought to the lowest place in my life to let the wall of pride fall and admit that I did need God. That I could not do life on my own. That I did not want to be without him. After accusing him of the years of hurt I endured, I had to admit that he wasn’t the source of my pain, I was. That admission broke my pride with the strength of humility.
Are you, as I and Captain Wentworth and many others have, letting pride bring you pain? If so, what do you need to do to let the walls fall and usher in the humility that will bring you a happiness and joy and peace and blessing you did not earn nor do you deserve—but you’ll brook the task of being more fulfilled than your actions have warranted?