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This debilitating languor of the spirit is by far the direst tribulation of thesoul, indeed the climax of its purging experience. It is similar only to death.Only under the wing of the Almighty's perfect providence can man withstandsuch a trial, for during this ordeal the soul in its grief, like Job, reaches thepoint in which it yearns for death.During all these torments, the afflicted person is not totally deprived of thehope of God's mercy. He never stops looking up toward God, even on theverge of despair; rather, he waits for a great and wonderful salvation. Inasmuchas the tribulation presses hard, his soul becomes clearer and purer. Thevision of the Almighty's majesty is unveiled, together with the intensity of hislove and faithfulness toward the human soul. Previous sufferings seem to falllike scales from the eyes of the soul. It is here that the soul builds up its faith inGod. It is not on the basis of blessings that pass away, on protection and visiblecare, nor on tangible evidence or reasonable proof, but on "the assurance ofthings hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb 11.1).In the same way, every soul that loves Christ will be, without exception,vindicated at the end. No matter how bitter the spiritual experience, it stillknows its final share. It crawls forward, injured but looking toward Christ.The soul, the forsaken beloved, calls to him who has bought her with hisblood, never once swerving from her trust in her Lover.

Trust may fade from view but is never lost. Faith may sometimes come toa halt but never comes to an end. Feelings of love may sink out of sight, yetthey are still preserved in the depths of the soul to spring forth at the end of thetrial with an invincible power.