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Ecstasy of Abandonment

If we find ourselves compassed about with feelings of regret, depression, worry, fears, or other maladies of the soul and mind there is hope in Christ. This hope comes from offering our entire lives to the One who whispers to us and reveals the desires of our hearts – the true desires, not what man classifies as purpose, success, and fulfillment, but the purpose for which God created us. Oh beloved, struggle no long longer with holding on to the past, being disquieted at the present, or suffering anxiety about the future. Oh, what a place of living ecstasy we can experience in our Beloved if only we let go of ourselves and what we thought our lives would be. No matter where we are in life or in age, we can at last lay hold to that for which Christ laid hold to us.

Madam Guyon was a Christian mystic such as St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aguinas, or St. Catherine of Siena. Madam Guyon lived in the late 1600s to early 1700s in France. Her writings display a life of communion with God in any endeavor and her belief was of salvation by grace rather than works. In her book Spiritual Torrents (circa 1790) she addresses the experience of the absence of fear, humiliation, pride, and any other disturbances from pure and utter joy in the Lord such as depression, self-centeredness, and other distractions that can scatter our thoughts and disrupt our peace in Him. This place of divine ecstasy can be experienced by a believer who has been united in Christ’s death for that one will also be united in His resurrection (Romans 6:5). Whom the son sets free will be free indeed (John 8:36).

Guyon compares the offering of our entire being to Christ as an experience of powerlessness. The deeper the experience of abandonment of ourselves, the greater the liberty. As many Kingdom Principles, this is a paradox that proves true, for in losing our lives in HIm we find our true purpose. Guyon reveals characteristics of a soul offered up to God:

When it hears other speak of deep humiliation, it is surprised to find that it experiences nothing of the kind; and if it sought to humble itself, it would be astonished, as though it were guilty of unfaithfulness, and would even find it impossible, because the state of annihilation through which it has passed has placed it below all humiliation; for in order to be humbled, we must be something, and nothingness cannot be brought lower; its present state has placed it above all humility and all virtue by its transformation into God, so that is powerlessness arises both from its annihilation and its elevation.

Those persons have nothing outwardly to distinguish them from others, unless it be that they do no harm to any one; for , so far as the exterior is concerned, they are very ordinary, and therefore do not attract observation, but live in a state of quiet rest, free from all care and anxiety. They experience  deep joy, arising from the absence of all fear, or desire, or longing so that nothing can disturb their repose or diminish their joy. David possessed this experience when he said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid” (Psalm 27:1).

A heart ravished with joy no longer looks at itself, nor things of itself; and its joy, though great, is not an object of contemplation. The soul is in a state of ravishment and ecstasy which cause no uneasiness, because God has enlarged its capacity almost to infinitude…In this resurrection life, the ecstasy lasts, not for a few hours only, but forever, without either violence or variation, God having purified and strengthened the subject to fit to the extent necessary to enable it to bear this glorious ravishment. The soul drawn out of itself experiences an inward ecstasy; but a happy one, because it is only drawn out of itself in order that it may be drowned and lost in God, quitting its own imperfections and its own limited thoughts to participate in those of God.

Oh happy nothingness! Where does its blessedness end? O poverty-stricken, weary ones! How well ye are recompensed! O unutterable happiness! O soul! What a gain thou has made in exchange for all thy losses! Learn now by thine own experience how good it is to trust in God, and that those who put their confidence in Him shall never be confounded.

O Abandonment! What gladness canst thou impart to the soul, and what progress it might have made if it had found thee at first; from how much weariness it might have been delivered if it had known how to let God work! But, alas, men are not willing to abandon themselves, and to trust only in God. Even those who appear to do it, and who think themselves well established in it, are only abandoned in imagination, and not in reality. They are willing to abandon themselves in one thing and not in another; they wish to compromise with God, and to place a limit to what they will permit Him to do. They want to give themselves up, but on such and such conditions. No; this is not abandonment. An entire and total abandonment excepts nothing, keeps back nothing, neither death, nor life, nor perfection, nor salvation, nor heaven, nor hell.

O poor souls! Give yourselves up utterly in this abandonment; you will get only happiness and blessing from it. Walk boldly on this stormy sea, relying on the word of Jesus, who has promised to take upon Himself the care of all those who will lose their own life, and abandon themselves to Him.But if you sink like Peter, ascribe it to the weakness of your faith. If we had the faith calmly, and without hesitation, to face all dangers, what good should not receive!

What do you fear, trembling heart? You fear to lose yourself? Alas! For all that you are worth, what would that matter? Yes, you will lose yourself if you have strength to abandon yourself to God, but you will be lost in Him. O happy loss! (Guyon, Spiritual Torrents)

Whether we have walked with the Lord a few days or a few years, we’ve only scratched the surface of experiencing God. He is unsearchable and His ways are beyond tracing out. Be excited and let your heart leap for joy, for in letting go of your whole life and offered up to Christ there awaits a life without limits in time and flowing over into eternity.