'God is just in all His withdrawing. We desert Him before He deserts us. We desert God when we leave off close communion with Him, when we desert His truths and dare not appear for Him, when we leave the guidance and conduct of His Word and follow the deceitful light of our own corrupt affections and passions.'
How does desertion work for our good?
- Desertion can only happen to the Christian. Therefore if God leaves us it is evidence that we're born again. When we don't see the presence of God in our lives we start to crave for it. The non-Christian can't experience these cravings for the Spirit
- 'Desertion curses the soul of sloth'. In other words we are convicted of spiritual laziness when God takes His presence from us.
- Desertion works for good because it makes the Christian desire the presence of God again. When you don't see God's presence in your life you can't take it for granted. When we understand that we are empty without God we realise that 'the lovingkindess of the Lord is better than life.' (Psalm 63:3)
- Desertion works for our good because it makes sin seem more bitter. 'Sin made God desert His temple (Ezek 8:6). Sin causes Him to appear as an enemy, and dress Himself in armour. This makes the soul want to pursue sin with a holy malice, and seek to be avenged of it.'
- Desertion works for our good because it makes us seek God. 'The deserted soul sends up whole volleys of sighs and groans. It knocks at heaven's gate by prayer; it can have no rest until the golden beams of God's face shine.'
- Desertion works for our good 'as it prepares the saints for future comfort.' The angels visited Jesus after He had been fasting. Desertion makes heaven sweeter for us.
'The Lord brings us into the deep of desertion that He may not bring us into the deep of damnation. He puts us into a seeming hell, that He may keep us from a real hell. God is fitting us for that time when we shall enjoy His smiles for ever. '