Sister Basilea points out how true love for the Lord does not allow either troubles or pleasures to crowd out or steal our attention away from our Beloved Jesus. I needed to be reminded of this today. Life is full of ups and downs and we should take it all in stride.
Yet it is possible to lose the One who has drawn near to us. The Lord can also depart from us if our love for Him grows cold. He will live only in hearts that love Him. Only there does He desire to dwell.
Loving Him means giving Him first place. It means nothing can stir our hearts as He does. We need to be on our guard against being overwhelmed by earth's joys and sorrows, by our work and activities. When such things preoccupy us, Jesus no longer has first place in our lives and has to leave the innermost chamber of our heart, His chosen dwelling-place. Nothing that concerns, excites, or upsets us should be allowed to penetrate into that sanctuary where He lives and has His throne. Ultimately, nothing should disquiet us because He who is our peace is living in the deepest recesses of our heart.
Every true bride of Jesus makes the innermost chamber of her heart a sanctuary. She keeps it holy, for her greatest joy is His promise to make His dwelling in the hearts of those who love Him. For bridal souls, there is no greater fear than losing their first love by being absorbed with the joys and troubles and the ups and downs of daily life. Then Jesus can no longer make His dwelling in their hearts. Filled with trepidation that such a thing might happen, they are careful lest work and pleasure, or even the suffering of others, engross them completely.
The bride of Jesus longs that nothing should drive her Bridegroom from her heart. She knows that He requires of us total devotion: He will not share the throne of our hearts with anyone or anything else. He will not have us dominated by a bridal soul wholeheartedly resists all such influences that might take control of her. He alone is to reign in her. His indwelling is her greatest joy and happiness. All this means she has a deep inner peace regardless of any external pressures and troubles weighing upon her. She is always one with Him, He in her and she in Him. Thus she goes through life with Him. Everything she does and experiences is in union with Him.
What could be more wonderful than His promise to dwell within us? With Jesus living in the innermost chamber of our heart, what more could we want? He is there even in the darkest night when we feel nothing and He seems far away. What comfort and consolation! Could anything be greater? Even in times of spiritual dryness, that dark night of the soul, we have the assurance: He who is Life lives in me, and so life will be born in the night.
Especially in dark times of testing, when troubles threaten to overwhelm us, our heavenly Bridegroom is lovingly and intently watching to see how we stand our ground and endure. Will we prove ourselves truly His bride? This is what He longs to see. For then we are not wrapped up in ourselves, at the mercy of our feelings, our thoughts, our inner conflict. Instead, we are relying on His being there, His dwelling within us. Since His presence is greater than troubles and pressures, our trials will only serve to join us more closely to Him.
Even in the darkest hour we can be sure that Jesus is with us, although we cannot feel His presence. What we need to do is commit to Him everything that is burdening us, for this brings us into union with Him, and then He will minister through us. So even times of spiritual dryness and hardship yield choice fruit.
From "My All For Him" by Basilea Schlink