From: F. B. The Secret of Guidance (Moody Classics). New ed. publication place: Moody Publishers, 2010.
“The only possible order that will bring blessing and comfort to the heart is that indicated in our title:
– God’s facts, laid like a foundation of adamant.
– Our faith, apprehending and resting on them.
– Joyous feelings, coming all at once or after the lapse of days and months, as God wills.
The facts of which we are told in the Bible are like stepping-stones across a brook. Before you reach the shallows where they lie, you wonder how you will get over, but when you step down to the margin of the water, you see that they span the space from bank to bank. When you have reached one you can step to another, and so get across. It is absurd to consult feeling, or look for faith, while still at a distance from the brookside, or to persist in going above or below that primitive bridge of stones. You must come down to them, consider them, see how strongly fixed they are in the oozy bed, notice how easily the villagers pass and repass; then you will feel able to trust them, and finally, with a light heart and great sense of relief, step from one to another.
Let us recall a few facts that may help us first to faith, and then to feeling.
It is a fact that God loves each of us with the tenderest and most particular love. You may not believe or feel it; the warm summer sun may be shining against your shuttered and curtained window without making itself seen or felt within; but your failure to realize and appreciate the fact of God’s love toward you cannot alter its being so.
It is a fact that in Jesus every obstacle has been removed out of the way of your immediate forgiveness and acceptance. God was in the dying Savior, putting away sin, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, reconciling the world to Himself. You may not believe this, or feel the joy of it, but that does not alter the fact that it is so.
After the peace was signed between the North and the South, ending the Civil War, there were soldiers hiding in the woods, barely surviving on berries, who might have returned to their homes. They either did not know, or did not believe, the good news, and they went on starving long after their comrades had been welcomed by their wives and children. Theirs was the loss, but their failure in knowledge or belief did not alter the fact that peace was proclaimed and that the door was wide open for their return.
A friend may have paid all my debts in my native town, from which I have fled fearing arrest and disgrace. He may have done it so speedily that my credit has never been impaired or my good name forfeited. There may be all the old love and honor waiting to greet me. He may have even told me so; but if I still absent myself and refuse to return, my folly in this respect cannot undo those beneficent acts, though it perpetuates my misery.”