A History of Your Life

O that we practiced the heavenly spiritual exercise of meditating on the providences of God! How sweet it would make our lives; how light it would make our burdens! You live estranged from the pleasure of the Christian life if you ignore or neglect this discipline.

Fill your heart with thoughts of Him and His ways! Let your meditation be as full and exhaustive as possible. Do not let your thoughts swim like feathers upon the surface of the water, but sink like lead to the bottom. Although we cannot sound the depth of providence by our short line, it is our duty to live to dive as far as we can and to admire the depth even when we cannot touch the bottom.

Search backward into all the acts of providence throughout your life. That is what Asaph did: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds” (Psalm 77:11-12). He labored to recover and revive the ancient providences of God's mercies and so coax a fresh sweetness out of them.

There is no more pleasant a history for you to read in all the world as the history of your own life. Sit down and record from the beginning what God has been to you and done for you. What outstanding displays of His mercy, faithfulness, and love have taken place throughout your days? If a single act of providence is so ravishing and thrilling, what would many of them be if they were considered together? If one star is beautiful to behold, what is a constellation? If your heart does not melt before you have recited half that history, it is a hard heart indeed.

John Flavel, Adapted from The Works of John Flavel, Vol. 4 (London: W. Baynes and Son, 1820).